Relationships key to $1 million raise, Higher Learning Tech CEO says

Previously: With new funding, tech team, Higher Learning Technologies plans to release more apps on We Create Here; Higher Learning Technologies’ first funding round nets $1 million via Des Moines Register; HLT closes $1 million seed round, strives to release 24 new apps this year via Silicon Prairie News; Keep your eyes open, opportunities are everywhere, guest column by HLT CEO Alec Whitters on Silicon Prairie News.  The road to $1 million may start with a single hello. That was the case for Coralville-based Higher Learning Technologies, anyway. CEO Alec Whitters was a dental student when he started working on the idea for a test preparation app, and didn’t have connections in the business and startup world, he said. The team – three co-founders who had been friends since high school – started attending events and meeting community members. And those connections were what led to the startup’s recent announcement that their seed round totaled just more than $1 million. “We didn’t approach the meetings as, ‘we are going to raise money,’” Whitters said. “We were just looking for their perspective, we were building relationships.” HLT specializes in preparation apps for intensive exams, such as dental and nursing boards. The apps retail between $25 and $50, and have been downloaded in more than 150 countries around the world. The nursing app, NCLEX RN, quickly broke top 10 lists for education apps. The $1 million seed round included around a dozen investors, Whitters said, and includes leaders from education, health and technology. The company had initially planned to raise “significantly less,” Whitters said, but their advisors told them to expect things to take…