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Education-technology startup Knewton is schooling the market in the future of learning technology. "There's only one big data platform in search or in social," says CEO Jose Ferreira. "In education, that's going to be built off of Knewton." The New York-based company aced 2011 trying to make that boast come true. Highlights:

WATCH AND LEARN Knewton’s debut software, four years in the making, lets students go at their own pace and personalizes content to how they’re most comfortable learning.

MATH MAJOR It launched last summer at Arizona State University, where it’s being used by incoming students who are preparing for college-level math in the fall. Deals with Penn State, Washington State, and others followed.

EXTRA CREDIT Knewton won a deal to power Pearson Education’s math, science, and humanities tutoring software, used by 9 million higher-ed students. "Knewton gets better the more people use it," Ferreira says.