Thursday, June 22, 2017

Melbourne edutech startup Verso Learning raises $2 million for US expansion

Launched in 2014 by Colin Wood, having evolved out of his previous company Learnology, Verso previously raised a seed funding round, as well as innovation funding from the Victorian Government.

The startup’s platform looks to give educators analytical insights into their students’ work, allowing them to create data-driven teaching strategies to best engage all types of learners. It also enables teachers to connect and share their strategies.

Lowe, who spent almost two decades as a high school teacher, said, “Verso Learning disrupts the traditional teacher training model by providing teachers with ongoing, timely feedback and the tools they need to teach at their best every day.”

With Verso currently used by over 40,000 teachers in over 12,000 schools globally, the fresh funding will go towards further scaling the company’s offering and tailoring it to different markets, particularly in the US, where it’s being used in California, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Texas.

According to Wood, the platform has taken hold as schools increasingly seek alternatives to the “expensive, disruptive, and often ineffective” traditional training exercises like seminars and training days.

He said, “For less than the cost of sending one teacher to a half day of traditional training, Verso can deliver a full year of ongoing, continuous professional development.”

In Australia, the startup’s platform has been used in Victoria and NSW, where it was recently awarded NESA accreditation by the NSW Department of Education to allow teachers to use Verso as part of their professional learning requirements.

Also looking to assist teachers in better engaging with students is Sydney-founded Smart Sparrow, which in April raised a $5.3 million Series C round, led by OneVentures, to help further expand into the US.

Founded in 2008 by Dror Ben-Naim, a researcher at the University of New South Wales, Smart Sparrow offers teachers and university professors an online platform where they’re able to design their own online course content to create an interactive and ‘adaptive’ learning experience for students.

Educators are able to integrate tutorials, interactive content, simulations and media into their course, which can be edited at any time. Course creators are then able to view student’s progress in real-time and visualise course data.

Image: the Verso team. Source: Supplied

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