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Back to school: Top 15 AI-driven EdTech startups in 2021

PostedSeptember 6, 2021 8 min read
Top AI startups in EdTech | Xenoss Blog

In 2021, remote learning and strict social distancing rules have disrupted the world. Traditional methods of education have been changing more drastically than ever.

In order to adapt to the new reality, EdTech startups and companies are creating innovative ways of teaching and supporting students. This includes leveraging Artificial Intelligence to improve and automate the learning experience.

AI usage in EdTech is extremely diverse. AI can help create custom-tailored learning courses for students, employ natural language processing to assist in learning a new language, simplify administrative tasks such as grading.

The algorithms can discover what kind of topics students find interesting, what kind of tasks make them bored or unengaged. Ensure precise personalization for each and every student. The list goes on.

Such a variety of applications makes it attractive for both educators and investors.

A recent report commissioned to IDC by Microsoft has proved that US-based educators are interested and ready to adopt AI technologies. The results showed almost universal acceptance among educators that AI is important for their future—99.4% said AI would be instrumental to their institution’s competitiveness within the next three years, with 15% calling it a “game-changer.” Nearly all are trying to work with it too—92% said they had started to experiment with the technology.

On the other hand, the market of artificial intelligence in education looks most promising. It is expected to grow by 47.5% in the US in 2021. Under the COVID-19 impact, EdTech has experienced a boom in investments.

The first three quarters of 2020 have seen a record $8.3B of VC investment.

Nowadays, there are a number of incredible EdTech startups disrupting the industry. We decided to name some and compiled a list of top EdTech startups to watch in 2021, grouped by their areas of innovation.

How is AI used in EdTech | Xenoss Blog
AI applications in EdTech

AI-assisted language learning EdTech startups

Language learning EdTech startups are a rapidly developing market segment. Advances in AI and speech recognition are making learning a new language much easier. AI can be used to collect data on how students learn a language and common mistakes within a group of users with the same mother-tongue, as well as identify patterns in the way information is being retained. This data can then be used to customize educational content for new students.

Here’s a list of startups that are lowering the barrier for language learning:

Elsa

Elsa | Xenoss Blog

Product: AI-assisted language learning platform

Funding: 10.3M

HQ Location: San Francisco, CA, US

ELSA offers a mobile application that aims to help English learners speak English with confidence. The application includes an online pronunciation tutor that users can talk to and receive instant feedback on their pronunciation. ELSA (English Language Speech Assistant) also offers speech recognition and pronunciation analysis that can identify precise areas of improvement based on the native language of the speaker.

Memrise

Memrise | Xenoss Blog

Product: language learning platform

Funding: 21.8M

HQ Location: London, England, UK

Memrise offers a language learning platform that also includes a mobile application and a website. The company’s specialty is combining memory techniques with engaging content to make learning a new language more fun. The application uses machine learning to personalize lessons based on what the user already knows. It then uses said information to help the user memorize new vocabulary, phrases, writing systems.

Lingvist

Lingvist | Xenoss Blog

Product: Language learning software

Funding: 11.2M

HQ Location: Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia

Lingvist uses smart algorithms to track the progress and mistakes of users. It offers a language learning software product that’s based on mathematical and statistical analysis that can adapt lessons in real time to match the user’s prior knowledge and memory patterns.

Novakid

Novakid | Xenoss Blog

Product: Language learning platform

Funding: 6.5M

HQ Location:  San Francisco, CA, US

NovaKid focuses on teaching children English through remote practice with native speaking mentors and by employing AI-powered games and training apps that encourage practicing English vocally.

The company also offers personalized lessons with tutors for children that are based on AI-assisted data analysis.

Blue Canoe Learning

Blue canoe learning | Xenoss Blog

Product: Mobile games for adaptive learning

Funding: 2.5M

HQ Location: Bellevue, WA, US

Blue Canoe combines artificial intelligence, speech recognition and proven brain-science methodology to create mobile games that help increase business productivity.

The company’s goal is to improve the pronunciation and business communication of non-native English speaking employees. Learners track their progress over time with an objective pronunciation score.

Adaptive learning software

Adaptive learning technology allows for catering education programs to each student’s individual needs. It helps build personalized lessons and learning content.

Artificial intelligence can gather information on the student’s preferred mode of learning, abilities, experience, and knowledge to tailor-make training programs.

Here are a couple of the growing startups working in the niche:

CENTURY Tech

Century Tech | Xenoss Blog

Product: Personalized learning platform

Funding: 9.5M

HQ Location: London, England, UK

Century-Tech offers a personalized learning platform. It utilizes AI, big data, and behavioral science to present the right level of learning material to the student at the right time, to fill gaps in the student’s knowledge, encourage mastery and increase memory function.

SelfStudy, Inc.

Self Study Inc. | Xenoss Blog

Product: AI-powered platform for adaptive learning

Funding: 6.6M

HQ Location: San Francisco, CA, US

SelfStudy is a learning optimization technology startup that offers an AI-powered cloud platform to professional societies and publishers. The platform delivers personalized content discovery and adaptive learning programs. It leverages machine learning and an MIT-developed dynamic items response theory to provide an assessment of each user and select the most relevant learning content.

Amira Learning

Amira learning | Xenoss Blog

Product: AI reading assistant

Funding: 9.3M

HQ Location: Las Vegas, NV, US

Amira Learning develops an intelligent reading assistant that helps improve language fluency. The assistant can analyze the reading of a speaker, recognize errors, and provide insights into their strengths and weaknesses.

It can generate diagnostic reports that aid students and teachers in language learning.

Trivie

Trivie | Xenoss Blog

Product: On-demand gamification platform

Funding: 16.6M

HQ Location: Frisco, TX, US

Trivie is a SaaS company that offers an on-demand gamification platform to improve knowledge retention for employees.

The platform employs retrieval practice, micro-learning, and adaptive learning that help companies considerably reduce training costs, increase sales, and provide better customer service.

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    Education assessment software leveraging AI

    By automating the process of checking student’s answers and grading papers, educators can save a lot of time and labor. AI models can be trained based on how a teacher would grade an answer, then use the same rules for future answers and performance evaluations.

    While grading and assessment software has been around for a while, advances in AI are now making it possible to not only evaluate checkbox answers but essay-like answers as well. In addition, AI can analyze answers to identify points of improvement for students.

    Below are the startups that drive change in performance grading:

    Querium

    Querium | Xenoss Blog

    Product: Assessment platform

    Funding: 6.2M

    HQ Location: Austin, TX, US

    Querium Corporation develops a smart online assessment platform for STEM subjects that features a patent-pending expert system, advanced simulation technology, and an easy-to-use interface.

    The platform provides individual lessons that employ The StepWise Virtual Tutor that uses A.I. technology that simulates an expert teacher or tutor and is available 24/7.

    Cognii

    Cognii | Xenoss Blog

    Product: AI assessment tool for essay-like answers

    Funding: 118K

    HQ Location: Boston, MA, US

    Cognii builds a cutting-edge assessment technology to provide an evaluation of essay-type answers in online learning platforms.

    It uses an exclusive NLP technology that delivers personalized feedback to engage students in an active learning process and improve their knowledge retention. Cognii’s solution is available through an API for all online learning platforms, including LMS (Learning Management System), MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course), and more.

    AI-powered EdTech startups for kids

    Childhood education requires constant attention from teachers and tutors.

    In addition, each child is different and the fit-all approach of the traditional educational system often fails to engage and motivate young learners. By combining child psychology and neuroscience together with adaptive learning technologies and AI, companies can help create more engaging lessons, as kids can play and learn at the same time.

    Here’s the list of companies transforming childhood education:

    Kidaptive

    Kidaptive | Xenoss Blog

    Product: Adaptive Learning Tools

    Funding: 38.7M

    HQ Location: Mountain View, CA, US

    Kidaptive enables personalized learning for children. The company provides powerful adaptive learning tools that increase engagement, optimize learning, and improve outcomes for kids worldwide.

    The company’s products include Leo’s Pad, a preschool learning app for the iPad, and Hodoo English, an immersive multiplayer role-playing game that provides opportunities for children to practice speaking and understanding English.

    Mybuddy.ai

    MyBuddy.ai | Xenoss Blog

    Product: Voice-based AI English tutor

    Funding: 2M

    HQ Location: Mountain View, CA, US

    Buddy promotes oral English practice for children with their virtual AI-powered cartoon character in a mobile app.

    Combining attractive visuals, speech technology, and adaptive learning, Buddy serves over 500 million children around the globe by automating the mundane part of tutoring work.

    Beable

    Beable | Xenoss Blog

    Product: Life-Ready Literacy System

    Funding: 15.3M

    HQ Location: Lakewood, NJ, United States

    Beable offers an innovative Life-Ready Literacy System that’s powered by the proprietary BeableIQ data and automation engine. The company’s goal is to combine grade-based content acquisition, ACT/SAT prep and career exposure to boost literacy growth. Beable also delivers a personalized path for each and every student based on their academic and career goals.

    Takeaway

    A clear demand for task automation, adaptive learning, and personalized education based on AI is driving the market. Many of the AI fields, such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning algorithms, Speech and Image recognition, can drastically improve the learning process with personalized lessons, 24/7 support and tutoring, and automatic performance assessment.

    According to the P&S Intelligence market report, the global artificial intelligence in the education market was valued at $1.1 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $25.7 billion in 2030, demonstrating a CAGR of 32.9% during the forecast period (2020–2030).

    Highly developed educational infrastructures, large spending on EdTech and AI technologies, as well as an increased dependence on smart devices, are major factors contributing to this growth. AI among EdTech startups will continue to expand and there still remain many unmapped areas for innovations.