Today, Top Hat Monocle is used by 65,000 college students at 150 universities across North America, including Harvard and Johns Hopkins. This morning, the 32-person Toronto-based company announced that it’s raised $8 million in venture funding from Emergence Capital and iNovia Capital. Top Hat previously raised $1.5 million in angel funding in July 2011.
The company offers software that helps professors harness students’ phones for classroom lessons and activities, instead of Twitter and Temple Runner. At its simplest, professors use the software to present slideshows and handouts on students’ phones and laptops. Instructors can create more interactive digital activities, like polls, quizzes, and open-ended question and answer exercises. (It’s also a pretty painless way to gauge attendance.) Versions of the software work for feature phones up through iOS and Android devices.