Baltimore, MD – Feb. 2, 2016 – SFP Capital and Sagamore Ventures have invested $1.25 million in CWIST, a web platform supporting learning projects for students ages 3 to 103. The investments are the first in a planned $1.5 million round of funding and will allow CWIST to hire a team to strengthen and expand services for its current partners and grow its customer base.
CWIST has also relocated its headquarters from Annapolis to the new City Garage building in Port Covington. The renovated space at 101 W. Dickman Streetis owned by Sagamore Ventures and is designed to be a hub for entrepreneurs, makers and innovators.
“We have had tremendous success in the engaged education space,” said CWIST Founder, Chris Sleat. “With this influx of capital, we are poised to support great maker companies as they help teachers engage students in ways they could only dream about before.”
CWIST has been actively seeking investment partners who share its vision. The financial investments by SFP Capital and Sagamore Ventures are critical to helping CWIST continue the momentum it has built in providing innovative platform solutions to maker companies.
CWIST will use the investment to hire a Baltimore-based team to help it refine its existing processes and platform for its current partners. It will also bring in creative cinematography talent and someone to take the lead on sales. It will add several new customers from the drone and 3D printing space and will work with City Garage to build out its offices to house current and new employees.
“We love the fact that we have been given the opportunity to move to Baltimore and the City Garage,” said Sleat. “This is a great spot for us to attract the education, creative, and tech talent we need for future growth.”
CWIST is a leader in providing content and a customizable online platform for the maker movement. CWIST’s platform brings maker-inspired activities to students, schools and consumers using some of the most innovative products available today. It packages partners’ content into custom, engaging learning experiences that continually drive value to educators and consumers. In its most recent example, CWIST partnered with robotics company Sphero to power Sphero’s online education community. The SPRK Lightning Lab hub uses CWIST’s online platform to offer a free virtual community that allows educators, students, makers and parents to communicate about their projects.
CWIST also offers an interactive library of maker, doer, and get-moving challenges called “cwists” that are created by CWIST, its partners, and the CWIST community. Examples include learning geometry, physics, and coding, all while shooting a robot off a ramp.
SFP Capital, based in Severna Park, Maryland, provides young companies with financial and strategic support including seed money, strategic and tactical assistance, and leadership support. It focuses on companies that will be driving forces in several key areas of innovation: the health and well-being of the advancing baby-boomer population; the dynamic and continual shift to the internet; and the discovery and commercial development of technologies.
“We look for innovative companies that have potential and passion,” said Paul Serini, Chairman and CEO of SFP Capital. “CWIST’s mission, innovative education platform and its success in engaging educators in the maker space, was a perfect fit for us.”
Sagamore Ventures is the venture capital subsidiary of Plank Industries, the private investment office of Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour. Sagamore Ventures is dedicated to support, counsel and capitalization with a focus on investments in Baltimore City.
“The community of innovators in the product space is currently experiencing rapid growth. CWIST’s ability to give this community a tool to truly differentiate their product is extraordinary,” said Demian Costa, managing partner of Sagamore Ventures. “City Garage will be greatly enhanced by their presence and we look forward to helping this company reach its potential.”
CWIST’s learning platform turns partner content into custom interactive learning challenges that reward users, driving sustained engagement and extending a partner’s education community. The original installation, CWIST.com, is an award-winning, free, maker-education website. The site offers projects to help students make something amazing while supporting parent and teacher goals. CWIST keeps kids engaged, excited and part of a community where they can add or find great new ideas every day.
About SFP Capital
SFP Capital provides financial and strategic support to help young companies succeed. The company invests in early-stage and emerging companies located principally in the Mid-Atlantic and across several markets with an emphasis on healthcare, life sciences / health & wellness, technology and e-commerce.
About Sagamore Ventures
Sagamore Ventures LLC is the venture capital subsidiary of Plank Industries, the private holding company of Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, Inc. Sagamore Ventures is housed alongside several of its portfolio companies at City Garage (www.citygarage.vc).