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The top 13 most promising edtech startups

Check out the list of 13 most promising educational startups and find out what edtech ideas shift the e-learning field today.

  • Startups
  • EdTech
  • Unicorns
Anastasiya Germash Sales Manager

Educational technology is booming, showing no signs of cooling off in the upcoming future – and we keep informing you tirelessly about this fact. The face of education is rapidly changing, due to the continuous pandemic and new regulations. To be more specific, let me give a few examples: students learn from home more, study on-the-go is getting more popular, tech tools have become great helpers for exam preparations and even worldwide enrollment processes are getting easier thanks to tech implementation! Edtech industry provides educators and learners with interactive programs that aim to enhance the learning experience. Educational technologies are expected to grow to about $243 billion by 2022.

“Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational" —  the quote of  George Couros, educator and author of The Innovator’s Mindset, conveys the meaning of what is really happening now in the education sector.

Change drives change. Technologies have already proved their influence on our behavior — the way we work, think, analyze, what decisions we make, what approaches we choose. Tech tools assist us everywhere.

Brand-new startups and pioneers have the upper hand in the educational sector. They can set trends and create demand. They are pushing and boosting the modern market and gaining wide popularity among learning institutions more and more.

Forward-looking startups always try to solve common problems through market pain points or to predict what is going to be in demand or what niches no one has ever filled before. Here I came up with a list of 13 most promising edtech startups who survived in the harsh conditions of competition and withstood all challenges!

The top 13 most promising edtech startups

1. Alison

  • Location: Galway, Ireland
  • Founded: 2007, Mike Feerick
  • Investors: SOSV, Texuna ventures, Zhewen Chen, Bill Liao, Burkhard Blum
  • Revenue: Undisclosed
  • Type: Online courses 

Alison or Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online is an educational platform that suggests free workspace for training to enable every single person to improve soft and hard skills. Learners who are ready to improve their knowledge on a specific issue do not wait for an appointment to start courses. Students can simply search the site for appropriate materials and be sure that they will receive high-quality, interactive, certified learning courses.

The founder’s idea was simple: access to knowledge does not need to depend on age, nationality, geography, economic status, or gender. No barriers. Thus, Alison provides a social-focused approach.

Alison managed to establish relationships with such giants as Microsoft and the British Council to promote education together.

The system has approximately 17 million students in more than 190 countries.

Alison

2. SkillPixels

  • Location: Pori, Finland
  • Founded: 2011, Hari Ketamo, Slava Kremerman
  • Investors: Undisclosed
  • Total funding amount: $2.1 million
  • Type: Gamifying learning

SkillPixels develops educational games for computers and mobile platforms to teach maths to preschoolers (4-8 years old). The SkillPixels’ idea is to provide modern and fun teaching instead of the classic way.

Game-based applications help to develop the imagination and creativity of kids. Different activities and challenging games boost logic and thinking.

SkillPixels aims to turn schoolbooks into educational games with learning analytics integration, as gamification is a new and effective way to impart knowledge to children. The approach was based on research which showed that children are ready to study much more willingly and effectively when they are teaching a smart digital pet.


SkillPixels

3. Zen Educate

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Founded: 2017, Oren Cohen
  • Investors: Adjuvo, Brighteye Ventures, Nicholas Hungerford, NEF Fast Track
  • Total funding amount: $9.4 million
  • Firm valuation: $27-40 million
  • Type: Online platform

Zen Educate is an online platform to connect teachers with openings in schools. This startup’s main objective is to find a replacement for teachers who are suddenly sick.

This system helps schools to find the best teachers in the shortest possible time. The system is implemented with the help of the digital labor market, where schools have direct access to information about teachers and can tailor it to their needs. Teachers also have a lot of benefits, as they will not get underpaid, spammed with endless emails, and calls from different agencies.

Zen Educate believes that their tech tool will replace old-school recruitment organizations, whose services require time, involve bureaucracy, and charge massive commissions. Zen Educate’s goal is to save educational institutions more than £100's million a year. Thanks to this concept, the system saves time and money for both schools and teachers.

Zen

4. Tandem

  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Founded: 2015, Tobias Dickmeis
  • Investors: Brighteye Ventures, GPS Ventures, SpringTech Partners, Atlantic Labs
  • Total funding amount: $4.9 million
  • Firm valuation: $5.54 million
  • Type: Language-teaching platform

Tandem is a language exchange app with over ten million members across 180 countries. If learners want to improve their language skills, they just need to download the app and start practicing anytime and anywhere. Cool, isn't it?

To start learning the language, the system provides easy registration. With just a few clicks, the learners choose the language that they want to learn and the format of study — video, audio, chatting, or speaking. The platform will find a suitable partner to allow the learner to practice the сhosen language with a native speaker. This is a two-way job, both sides teach the native language in exchange for communicating with another native speaker. With Tandem, people can share their knowledge and contribute their experience to the world.

Users downloaded this app over 7 million times. 

Tandem

5. Bridge U

  • Location: England, United Kingdom
  • Founded: 2013, Lucy Stonehill
  • Investors: Deborah Quazzo, Downing Ventures, Fresco Capital, GSV Ventures
  • Total funding amount: $8.2 million
  • Firm valuation: $19-29 million
  • Type: Intelligent Higher Ed & Early Careers Preparation

Bridge U is a platform that supports the preparation and processing of university applications. It helps students to make proper post-secondary plans and provides career guidance. The idea behind Bridge U is to work with secondary schools in different countries, helping teachers, instructors, and students deal with the complex challenge of preparing and completing college and university applications worldwide. 

The clients can draw on big data and administration tools to streamline and evolve the traditional approach to university and career advice. 

Prospective students need to fill in the information about their interests, hobbies, grades, professional and learning experiences, and then, with the help of machine learning, the platform will match their profiles with universities or courses which suit them the best. ML is improving every day by collecting feedback from students and previous experiences to provide more effective data. 

Bridge U also assists users with their first steps in a professional career, for example, writing CVs, portfolios, and personal statements.  

Today Bridge U encompasses more than 67 thousand students in 120 countries.

BridgeU

6. Knewton  

  • Location: New York, USA
  • Founded: 2008, Jose Ferreira
  • Investors: FirstMark Capital, Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Total funding amount: $182.3 million
  • Firm valuation: $17 million
  • Type: Adaptive learning platform

Knewton is an adaptive learning technology provider with a mission to bring personalized education to the world. The platform identifies the strengths and weaknesses of each student using adaptive learning technology. It can provide teachers with unique learning profiles and highly customized recommendations based on student information (prioritization of tasks, plan, time to be done).

The revolutionary adaptive learning engine is the key feature. Adaptive learning is a type of E-learning that endeavors to change the student from a passive receptor of data to a functioning teammate.

Knewton has also developed so-called Alta, a math program that assists students with learning the center mathematical skills in a profoundly intelligent and streamlined way.

By 2020 Knewton has served over 6 billion content recommendations.

Knewton

7. InSimu 

  • Location: Debrecen, Hungary
  • Founded: 2016, Andrea Herdon, Gabor Toth, János Vincze, Tamás Katona
  • Investors: Hinventures, Startup campus
  • Total funding amount: $535 k
  • Firm valuation: $400-$600 k
  • Type: Virtual patient simulator

InSimu is an edtech startup in the medical sphere which is concentrated on improving the diagnostic skills of future doctors. They are given the opportunity to practice their clinical work in the safety of virtual reality on simulated patients with the full scope of methods needed. The “meduntainment” approach will help medical doctors to achieve right diagnoses faster, decrease misdiagnoses, reduce unnecessary health expenditures, and fully change the way doctors learn. 

To ensure patient safety, medical students today do not have the opportunity to practice their future clinical work, nor to make their own decisions about patients and learn from their mistakes. Therefore, the patient's diagnostic path takes quite a lot of time, and students cannot witness the whole process.

InSimu provides virtual patients and more than 400 diagnostic tests, which enables medicals to handle real-life cases with the highest quality and expertise. This will result in more effective and safer care for the real-life patient. This medical education approach may in the future become the standard for any educational institution.

Insimu

8. Kopernio                                                                    

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Founded: 2016, Jan Reichelt, Ben Kaube, Peter Vincent
  • Investors: Clarivate Analytics, Innovate UK
  • Total funding amount: NDA
  • Firm valuation: NDA
  • Type: web-based paper research

Kopernio is a free web-based software that enables access to academic journal articles. The instrument gives the researcher the right to access journal articles with one click, even if they are off-campus. Kopernio aims to allow researchers to easily, quickly, and legally read scientific papers from all around the world. Integrated artificial intelligence enables the search for scientific papers online with no barriers. One of the worst pains of every single researcher is to manage many passwords and logins or fill lots of unnecessary applications to finally get a downloadable version of the document they need. Kopernio has solved this problem. 

Kopernio automatically recognizes what individual or institutional memberships a client currently has and sources the most suitable paper for them immediately. It will propose free alternative legal options or sources that may exist, as of now, on open-access stages if clients don't have the memberships to get to papers behind a paywall.

Kopernio

9. Tutorful

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Founded: 2015, Mark Hughes, Scott Woodley
  • Investors: Crowdcube, Northern Stars, InReach Ventures, NVM Private Equity
  • Total funding amount: $4.8 million
  • Firm valuation: $3-5 million
  • Type: tutoring

Tutorful is an online education company helping parents and students find their perfect tutor and achieve their learning goals. It is the largest online tuition marketplace in the UK.

Whatever the subject, Tutorful places clients in contact with instructors who can give balanced training either eye to eye or over the web. Every mentor is thoroughly verified before they're permitted to join Tutorful.

To provide users with the best product, Tutorful implemented online classrooms, interactive whiteboards, screen sharing, worry-free payments, and messaging. The service analyzes all reviews, responses, and profiles via a special algorithm. Thus, users can always see the top tutors.

They have approximately 10k tutors and over 100k students, and they have already delivered over 1 million lessons, isn’t it inspiring?

Tutorful

10. CoachHub

  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Founded: 2018, Yannis and Matti Niebelschutz
  • Investors: Angel Invest, Speedinvest, RTP Global, HV Capital, Partech, signals Venture Capital
  • Total funding amount: 20.7 million
  • Firm valuation: 84 million
  • Type: corporate training

CoachHub is an online platform that provides trainings for employees with certified coaches. The service is available via the app and web versions. 

The idea that stands behind CoachHub is that corporate training is an essential part of company growth. Employee development is one of the main objectives of every company, and it is a challenging task! Top managers of the companies have to deal with tech disruption and provide employees with new tech skills and soft skills as well. Lack of knowledge may cost the company time and money. Thus, corporate education enables employees with necessary soft skills, which positively affects business performance and enhances a healthy environment inside the company.

CoachHub provides e-sessions with coaches to train business skills like time management, leadership skills, and stress resistance. By using Artificial Intelligence technology, CoachHub ensures better matching of a dedicated coach and employee.

CoachHub comprises more than 300 coaches from all over the world, speaking 30 languages. This platform enables managers to improve their skills and performance and, as a consequence, turn to leaders in the future.

Coach Hub

Edtech Unicorns

Here are also presented 3 global edtech unicorns with valuation over $1 billion.

11. BYJU’S 

  • Location: India
  • Founded: 2015, Byju Raveendran, Divya Gokulnath
  • Investors: Owl Ventures, Tiger Global Management
  • Total funding amount: $2.1 billion
  • Firm valuation: $11.1 billion
  • Type: tutoring

BYJU'S develops comprehensive personalized e-learning programs. BYJU'S is a learning app that unites the best educators, innovation, content, and media for making a consistent, a-list learning experience for every single learner. It develops comprehensive personalized e-learning programs for the K-12 education segment providing gamification and fun lessons for the learners.

The company’s specialty is making customized learning encounters for each sort of student. The BYJU'S method of learning gives students a learning stage where they can learn, draw in, and be amped up for graphing their own way to discover the world.

BYJU'S  is the most popular education platform across the globe. It has 50 million registered students and 3.5 million paid subscriptions.

BYJU's

12. ApplyBoard

  • Location: Kitchener, Canada
  • Founded: 2015, Martin Basiri, Meti Basiri, and Massi Basiri
  • Investors:  Drive Capital, Fidelity Investments Canada ULC, Business Development Bank of Canada, Anthos Capital, Artiman Ventures, Garage Capital, and Plug and Play Tech Center
  • Total funding amount: $75 million 
  • Firm valuation: $1.4 billion
  • Type: international recruitment platform

ApplyBoard is a SaaS recruitment platform that helps international students to gain access to educational institutions abroad with just a few clicks.

Students from all over the world apply for educational programs by answering questions about their skills, interests, and scores. After that, machine learning comes into play. It matches the student's results and the university or school program that will be suitable for the student.

ApplyBoard’s mission is to give students all over the world access to educational opportunities abroad. The student only has to fill the application form and use it when applying to any program.

This platform allows learners all over the globe to save time on the research and application process. The service also helps students to compile a list of all the documents necessary for getting a visa.

ApplyBoard operates in Canada, the USA, and the UK. By using this platform, students worldwide have the opportunity to choose necessary secondary or postsecondary programs. Up to 1,200 institutions cooperate with the startup and benefit from enrolling talented students virtually.

Apply Board

13.Quizlet

  • Location: 2005, San Francisco, the USA
  • Founded: Andrew Sutherland
  • Investors: General Atlantic, Altos Ventures, Icon Ventures, Industry Ventures
  • Total funding amount: $60 million
  • Firm valuation: $1 billion
  • Type: study notes

Quizlet is an online study application that helps students of all ages to learn through activities and games. It allows them to master their knowledge and practice it as much as they need. Adults, school, college, and high school students use the platform for exam preparations or just for learning new information in a more effective way.

Quizlet is an educational app that makes homework and tests preparation easier and more fun. It provides a healthy set of tools for better learning and improves the processes of learning, writing, spelling, testing, and matching.

By using virtual flashcards, learners can use ready-built cliches or customize boards on their own, adding charts and images. Quizlet is based on machine learning technology, which helps to figure out the knowledge gaps and choose the right material.

The idea of Quizlet is not just flashcard learning, but the AI-powered core product that helps to customize the learning process in the most efficient way.

Quizlet

Create your own edtech tool

The educational market is sky-rocketing now. It is the right time to introduce new edtech solutions to the existing market and become a pioneer there.

If you have come up with a ground-breaking idea that will change education, it is necessary to gain the support of an experienced tech partner.

Our team of experts is eager to transform your edtech idea into a product. We have profound expertise in edtech solutions development from educational apps and learning management systems (LMS) to SaaS products based on Cloud solutions and complex HR & Employee Training custom software solutions. We build integrations with websites, CRMs, payment gateways and social networks.

Also, we implement modern AI solutions for educational processes such as test assessment, data mining for resource allocation, and automation of test generation and test scoring.

Drop us a message if you are ready to create a new breakthrough edtech service.

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