Test Prep App Startup Watermelon Express Raises Funding From Groupon Co-Founders

Test prep app developer Watermelon Express has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Lightbank, the fund operated by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell.

Watermelon Express develops cross-platform apps to help students prepare for a number of standardized tests including the GRE, SAT, GMAT, LSAT and MCAT. The startup actually collaborates with educational publishers to integrate content into its platform, which will work across a variety of devices including the iPhone, iPad, computers and more.

Apps include a collection of games, practice quesrions, test prep materials and diagnostic tests. But Watermelon Express also offers a number of unique features that could make it appealing to a broad base of test takers.

For example, the apps will give students progress reports to show where performance needs work and where students are excelling. Another compelling feature is the ability to compare performance with other test takers using the platform and access real time percentile scores for the five diagnostic tests and performance.

One useful functionality of the platform is the ability to sync the apps across mobile, desktop and web platforms. So you can access the app on an iPad, and access the same sport your left off in the app on the web.

Launched in 2009, Watermelon Express’ apps have been used by 75,000 students and test-takers across 20 countries. Apps cost around $30 each, which is a drawback in some ways for students. Users have to pay separately for apps on different platforms (i.e. a web app vs. an iPad app). But the startup says that it hopes to offer bundled apps in a suite soon.

In my opinion, the key to the startup’s success will be publisher deals. Since Watermelon Express doesn’t actually create the test content, partnerships with big-name publishers of test prep materials will help the startup gain traction.