Top Hat takes on textbook publishers

What it launched back in 2012, Toronto-based Top Hat (or “Top Hat Monocle,” as it was still known then) offered a phone-based classroom response system but little else in terms of content for teachers to use in their classes. In a way, though, that response system was Top Hat’s Trojan horse. It gave the company a foothold in the academic market and now that it has this, with teachers and students at over 750 of the top 1,000 colleges and universities using it at this point, it’s looking to expand its product portfolio.

To do so, the company announced a $22.5 million Series C round earlier this year and as Top Hat CEO Mike Silagadze told me, it has now raised a $7.5 million in follow-on funding from Toronto-based Leaders Fund.

With this funding in place, Top Hat today also announced that it has now launched its content marketplace (the creatively named Top Hat Marketplace) out of beta. The idea here is to challenge the massive textbook industry that doesn’t have any qualms about charging students hundreds of dollars for a book and a few (generally disappointing and hard to use) online tools and addenda.

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