An alert reader asked us if the guy in the blog was really named Rich Feller? It is, and it also appears Rich Feller is connected to the US Chamber of Commerce. Of course, he is. Aren't all rich fellers somehow connected to the Chamber of Commerce? But that was not the only response we received on that blog.
YouScience posted the following comment on our FaceBook page:
Momma Bears Respond—
"YouScience has never and will never sell student data. We’ll say that again – we have never and will never sell – or otherwise profit – from students’ private data. Period. Our goal is simply this – to help students better understand their natural abilities and how, when combined with their interests, they align with real-world careers."
Momma Bears Response:
We’re glad you are not selling student data but are you collecting it? Or transferring it? If so, for what purpose? Are you adding our children's data to Tennessee's statewide longitudinal data system? Because if you are, then you need to disclose that to our students. And we want to know why the state is collecting aptitude data on our kids and how it will be used? If you are not collecting data then we think, that if, you were sincere about helping our kids then you would be good stewards of their personal information and destroy it after achieving the goal of “helping students better understand their natural abilities.”
Not that we don't trust YouScience but… WE URGE any entity (school boards, TDOE, etc.) contracting with YouScience to add a provision for the destruction of student data after use and ensure compliance with strong penalties for violations.
"Because we use performance measures of aptitudes…" Blah, Blah, Blah
Momma Bears Response:
Oh, wonderful! Thanks ever so much for using our FaceBook page as an advertisement. But we did notice that you never denied our New Year's prediction that "'free career exploration' to be provided under Tennessee's Best for All plan will be a current pilot program called YouScience created in 2012." So, we suspect you are on the verge of a lucrative deal with the State of Tennessee. Is that why you have a Koch Brother lobbyist?
"Neither Stuart McWhorter nor Clay Associates are current or former investors in YouScience. We have reached out to the website in your story and are awaiting a response and correction. If you would like to see – and share – an accurate version of our investors, we recommend PitchBook and Crunchbase, both reputable sites.
We would be happy to further discuss the YouScience platform and share the third-party research that has been done to confirm our validity."
Momma Bears Response:
First of all, it's Clayton Associates, not Clay. So, maybe that is where the confusion lies but as for Stuart McWhorter...
Per your suggestion, we looked up your company on Crunchbase and it lists 3 investors:
In the meantime, we did a little googling...
Based on our limited research, we are pretty sure that YouScience has more than three investors listed on the free version of Crunchbase. The original SEC filing in 2013 shows 10 investors. There have also been various investors over the years including five investors in 2017. Venture Nashville Connections reports that in addition to Hardin who is listed on Crunchbase, Betsy Wills, Richard Patton and John Ingram also are investors. "[YouScience's] current investors and board members include Co-Founders Betsy Wills and Richard Patton, the latter CEO of Courage Capital Management; and, John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Industries and CEO of Ingram Content Group. Hardin serves as its chief financial officer, as well as CEO. Other investment has come from about 10 other investors, including "a couple" of strategic investors, Hardin confirmed. Total capital-in thus far includes a $1,316,667 from the INCITE fund created by Gov. Bill Haslam's administration and administered by LaunchTN."
Interesting side note: Richard Patton is married to Robin Ingram, yep, that Ingram Family, same one as John. We have blogged on them before and how they made money off Tennessee adopting Common Core. These rich people—always making money off our kids.
Now, let's talk about Launch Tennessee which is listed, by YouScience's recommended source, Crunchbase, as the lead investor in YouScience. With our free version of Crunchbase, we can only see limited information about Launch Tennessee and its investors. But we do know that back in 2013 when Launch Tennessee invested in YouScience, its vice chairman was none other than Stuart McWhorter.