10 edtech startups to watch in 2021
2020 saw a lot of significant changes in the education sector. The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to shut their doors and pivot to online learning overnight.
As a result, the already growing demand for digital education products skyrocketed. And, seeing the opportunity that this shift created, VCs started pouring money into edtech startups who’d become the leaders of this transformation.
There are lots of exciting ventures out there with the potential to help hundreds of thousands of learners around the world adjust to the new way of learning. Each has a different approach and brings a unique vision to the world of education.
Here are 10 edtech startups whose journeys we’re excited to follow in 2021:
1. Immerse: An edtech startup transforming English language learning through virtual reality
Virtual reality and language learning come together in this offering from edtech startup Immerse.
Their platform allows students to practise their language skills with structured learning experiences. Equipped with a VR headset, students use avatars to communicate and practise their English through a range of topics and themes. Immerse was launched in 2017 and recently completed their Series A investment round.
After a year of school shutdowns and learning from home, their product is more timely than ever. “In a time where isolation keeps us safe” said co-founder Quinn Taber, “giving both young and old learners that connection is incredibly important for both learning, as well as mental health.”
Watch the video below to see how Immerse VR learning experiences work:
2. Kide Science: Science is child’s play
The female-led Finnish edtech startup Kide Science was founded in 2017 by a researcher, a science teacher and an entrepreneur. Their learning model combines play, story, imagination and science process skills for an engaging STEAM experience.
Aimed at children aged 3-8, the startup offers playful science lessons, an online platform and video guidance for parents and teachers. Just last year, Kide Science raised €1.5 million in seed funding to expand outside Europe. Now, they have a presence in schools across the globe.
See their science lessons in action on their website.
3. ABA English: Pioneers in teaching through video
ABA English was leading the way in digital English learning long before the 2020 shift to online learning. Founded back in the 80s, they’ve always been focused on video lessons, and their offering has evolved along with the technology, keeping them at the cutting edge of language learning.
The ABA English app combines technology, a unique video-based methodology and human interactions with certified teachers and tutors to improve students’ English. The product has won the Best Educational App at the Reimagine Education Awards twice in the last five years.
Check out their website for more details.
4. Differ: An edtech startup that makes it safe for students to connect
Differ was founded in 2015 with the aim of boosting social inclusion at universities by making it easier for new students to connect and build friendships.
And, on the socially-distanced campuses of 2021, the option of virtual socialising will be more timely than ever. As well as improving the student experience, Differ’s data shows that social inclusion improves learning engagement and reduces drop-out rates.
The app is designed to help students break the ice through a chatbot that creates opportunities for informal one-to-one chats and group conversations. It also helps students find other people with common interests and hobbies in community groups.
And, educators can also use it to create course communities and open informal lines of communication with their students.
You can learn more about Differ on their website.
5. Perlego: Spotify for textbooks
Another edtech startup targeting university students, Perlego is an unlimited subscription service for academic texts.
The company works with publishers to provide affordable and sustainable access to over 400,000 textbooks, making sure that no student is priced out of their reading list.
Perlego was recently named as one of Britain’s fastest-growing startups, and won the EdTechXGlobal Startup Award in August 2020. In the context of distance learning and educational shutdowns, their product is a timely addition to the world of edtech.
Find out more about their online learning library.
6. Preply: The online tutoring marketplace
2020 was an exciting year for Preply, an online language learning company. Demand for their services skyrocketed as schools around the world had to shut their doors.
Already one of the main online learning players in Europe, Preply has raised over €10 million in funding to expand into North America and scale up their model in Europe.
The Preply platform allows students to search for an online tutor and take language classes through. Last year, they introduced a corporate training element, and they’re planning to increase their platform’s utility for teachers by adding data-driven tools to help busy tutors with assigned homework and assessing student progress.
Find out more about this exciting edtech startup on the Preply website.
7. CenturyTech: Intelligent teaching tools from an edtech startup
CenturyTech combines neuroscience, artificial intelligence and learning science to develop intelligent solutions to educational challenges.
The edtech startup’s learning and teaching platform won three different awards in 2019. And, with the impact of the educational shutdown of 2020, they saw more demand than ever.
CenturyTech has a remote learning platform as well as a platform dedicated to schools at every level, from primary to university. Their AI technology is used everywhere from leading British independent schools to Lebanese schools educating large numbers of Syrian refugees.
Read more about the impact that CenturyTech has had on teachers and learners on their website.
8. Enuma: Helping kids learn on their own
Enuma creates innovative self-directed learning solutions that empower all children to build foundational skills. The company’s applications are designed to help all children gain confidence in early literacy and math, including those with special needs or a limited access to resources.
The edtech startup’s most successful products are Todo Math and Todo English, which have garnered them over 8 million downloads worldwide. Another one of their products, Kitkit School, was named winner of the Global Learning XPRIZE competition in 2019.
Following the sudden surge in demand for digital learning products in the spring of 2020, Enuma raised $9 million in series B funding. They plan to use the funds to become a leader in distance education and help children around the world learn on their own, without support from adults.
9. Lingokids: Playlearning™ for 21st century skills
Lingokids develops apps that make learning more accessible to children by combining it with playing. With hundreds of games, video lessons and audiobooks, Lingokids has an extensive library of child-safe content approved by teachers.
Putting playful learning at the centre, Lingokids apps are perfect for children between 2 and 8 years old. At first, the edtech startup focused on English language learning. Now, the games help children build various 21st century skills like communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. And, they’re ideal for keeping kids occupied during lockdowns.
After the pandemic hit, the Madrid-based company started seeing a substantial increase in engagement rates. To evolve their product into a full-fledged self-learning platform, Lingokids raised $10 million in Series B funding from puzzle and game producer Ravensburger.
10. LearnLife: A step beyond school
The final company on our list isn’t technically an edtech startup, but we love their approach to learning so much we decided to include them anyway.
LearnLife, founded in 2017, is a learning community for lifelong learners from the age of 3 upwards. Their mission is to disrupt the traditional education system, just as startups do.
The company’s focus is on innovation and the development of new learning elements, spaces and technologies. Its mission is to deliver a learning experience that is responsive to the needs and challenges of today’s children.
LearnLife works together with educators and innovators, parents and learners to drive positive change in education and build an open ecosystem for a new lifelong learning paradigm. They are currently growing their first learning hub in Barcelona.
Explore how Learnlife tackles challenges in education on their website.
We hope you found this list interesting. Be sure to let us know if we missed any edtech startups that we should include!