Reston-based Echo360, the creator of a learning platform that films lectures for students to watch outside the classroom, among other features, has raised $18 million from investors in its latest round of funding, executives announced Wednesday.

Chief executive Fred Singer said the money will primarily be used to expand Echo360’s sales and marketing efforts as the company looks to push its software into more college classrooms. More than 625 colleges and 2 million students use the software to date.

The company has spent the past several years adding functions that make the software more useful for students and professors alike, thus making it more valuable for universities, Singer said. The latest incarnation, for example, collects more data about student performance and participation.

Professors can use that information to spot struggling students before they flunk an exam, and university administrators can gain greater insight into the content being taught in classes and whether students are actually mastering the material, Singer said.

“For the first time you can now manage the learning process between the teacher and the students,” he said. “You actually have software that measures it.”

Fred Singer is the CEO of Echo360. (Courtesy of Echo360)

Echo360 is capitalizing on the emerging trend in higher education of “flipping” classrooms so that students watch lectures at home, then come to class with questions for the instructor and to work on activities and problem sets as a group.

The company’s initial technology allowed colleges to film instructors as they presented lectures. Students could then watch the footage on their own time, then pause, rewind and review any parts of the session they found particularly challenging.

But fueled by $67 million in venture capital, Echo360 made a series of acquisitions in recent years to expand its technological capabilities with the goal of giving colleges and universities an all-in-one platform that improves student performance.

In April 2013, for example, Echo360 acquired a one-year-old firm called ThinkBinder that allows students to form invitation-only study groups online.

“All the acquisitions have been made and the integration is there, now it’s just moving forward and opening new markets,” Singer said.

Echo360 is not without competition. For years, education technology has largely consisted of companies developing software to help universities with administrative tasks, such as admissions, registration and grading.

Greater emphasis, however, is now being placed on technology that actually improves student performance. Even longtime players, such as District-based Blackboard, are focused more intently on the learning process.

“In any emerging market there’s always competition and you always need to keep innovating, but right now Echo360 is ahead of the pack and with this funding should widen its lead,” said Donn Davis, a company board member and managing partner at D.C.-based Revolution Growth.

Elmhurst, Ill.-based Duchossois Capital Management and San Francisco-based New Island Capital led the $18 million investment announced Wednesday. Other investors contributing to the round include SWaN & Legend, Clarke Enterprises-CNF, and existing investor Revolution Growth.

Echo360 counts 115 employees, including 70 in Northern Virginia, Singer said.