Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

digedu rides the Common Core Express with Tullman's connections

Glenn Tullman and Rahm
When it comes to cashing in, there's nothing common about the Common Core.

digedu is a three-year-old company that's trying to ride the Common Core wave. The company uses tablets to "help schools customize courses" to students who often are at different academic levels. digedu is now used by 5,000 students in more than 40 schools in 12 states. About half the users are in Chicago, where the largest customer is Lane Tech Academic Center, a middle school on the North Side. Among digedu's biggest customers are charter schools like the misnamed Cesar Chavez Charter in D.C.

The company is run by Matthew Tullman, the 25-year-old nephew of  former Allscripts Inc. exec Glen Tullman who now runs tech venture fund 7wire and who in turn, has put more than $2.5 million into digedu. The company has 17 employees, a number Mr. Tullman plans to nearly double this year. He expects customers will grow slightly faster, fueled by the push toward “Common Core” education standards that he says will entice educators to consider new curriculum tools, such as digedu which claims to share more than 3,000 Common Core-aligned lessons

But how did this upstart company manage to pull down those Chicago contracts?

Well for one thing, rich Uncle Glenn is connected. He's a big-time contributor to the Democratic Party machine. As things go these days, that also makes him a patron of Republican candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner.

According to the Sun-Times:
Millionaire businessman Bruce Rauner, whose self-funding has meant his competitors are free to tap into unlimited money, was himself the beneficiary of a $250,000 contribution. It came from Glen Tullman, the former CEO of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, according to a newly filed campaign report.
But wait, it gets better:
 Tullman’s donation, however, flags a different potential Republican primary issue for Rauner, who already has been criticized for being too chummy with Democrats. Records show Tullman has contributed to Democrats — including Gov. Pat Quinn. Tullman is the brother of major Democratic donor and Democratic National Committee Trustee Howard Tullman, who has donated to former President Bill Clinton and who is friends with — and was briefly the landlord of — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Wow! These Tullman's get around, don't they? You bet, it's good for business.

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