Digital portfolio startup Pathbrite scores $4M more to help students showcase learning

Pathbrite, a San Francisco-based startup that provides digital portfolio software for students and professionals, has announced a $4 million round of Series A2 funding. The new round, which was led by testing giant ACT and included Rethink Education and other angel investors, brings the company’s total amount raised to $8 million.

Heather Hiles, Pathbrite’s CEO and founder, said the funding will help it refine its Pathbrite for Educators product, as well as spread the word about the company and help execute its go-to-market strategy.

“[With the] funding, we can keep our heads down and do what we’re doing,” she said.

Launched last year, Pathbrite enables students and professionals to collect, track and share the digital artifacts showcasing their achievements. It’s like “credentials 2.0,” Hiles told GigaOM last summer when it raised $2.5 million in a Series A round.

In K-12 and higher education classrooms, students can upload multimedia projects, drafts of papers and other materials to Pathbrite, where professors and teachers can add comments and grade the work. Professionals could also use the site to showcase videos of presentations, articles, PowerPoint decks and other documentation that provide a richer picture of achievement than a resume.

Educators have used forms of e-portfolios in the classroom for the past decade or so – from blogging platforms to Google Apps (s GOOG) to Evernote to products connected to learning management systems (LMS) like Desire2Learn. But Pathbrite aims to be a standalone, cloud-based product that can accommodate all kinds of media and, conceivably, be a student’s showcase from grade school right into her professional life.

Pathbrite for Educators, which will be completed later this month, lets teachers and professors create templates that reflect their grading rubrics, easily track the progress of their class and assess each student’s individual work.

Hiles said Pathbrite is currently in more than 100 universities and school districts (with K-12 users slightly outnumbering those in higher ed). Stanford, for example, recently purchased 1000 licenses for students in its design, education and engineering schools. It’s also being piloted in Philadelphia public schools.

In addition to selling software licenses to institutions and districts, Pathbrite has also adopted model in which it sells directly to students in classes where the professor has made using e-portfolios a required activity.