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Pandemic accelerates growth of EdTech companies

InvestChile - January,4,2021

Start-ups devoted to the incorporation of technology in education have diversified their services and accelerated the digital transformation in Chile.

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Just a couple of years ago, the education ecosystem did not see such an obvious need to digitize; now, it has become a matter of survival. A school that does not enroll students online, does not charge fees online, does not communicate remotely with the community or teach classes virtually “simply disappeared this year,” says Ariel Gringaus, an Endeavor entrepreneur and CEO of Colegium, a Chilean digital platform for the administration of educational establishments.

The health crisis has meant that edtech companies, which combine education and technology, have grown and opted to diversify their services to address the new demands created by the pandemic and the digital acceleration of the educational ecosystem.

This is the case of Colegium, the creator of SchoolNet. During the first half of the year, use of its online communication and fee collection platforms for schools grew by 415%. In addition, it acquired Pencil, a Colombian edtech company, that will enable it to expand its management service to kindergartens and preschools.

Gringaus reports that Colegium has seen double-digit growth in recent years and the projection for 2020 is a fifteen-fold increase in seven years.

Another example is PleIQ, a Chilean edtech company that develops interactive notebooks with augmented reality for preschool education, using artificial intelligence and adaptive learning systems. At the beginning of 2020, it had 10,000 registered users in Latin America, but now already has 100,000.

“Historically and internationally, the edtech industry has never grown as much as this year. Companies have advanced and grown in one year what we had planned for five years,” illustrates Antonio Da Rocha, director of education at PleIQ.

He says that 80% of the company’s clients are in Chile and adds that it is developing an “augmented education” pedagogical proposition that includes an intelligent classroom model capable of transforming schools into “schools 4.0”.

Turnitin, a company founded in the US, is another edtech company that has seen a rise in sales this year. With a family of intelligent solutions that aim to prevent academic misconduct, such as plagiarism, it is present in 15,000 institutions across 140 countries, including Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico and Brazil.

In recent months, it has launched new solutions to complement its portfolio. They include Gradescope, a software that automates the grading of online and in-person assessments, providing teachers with greater insights into the areas where their students need reinforcement.

“For education establishments, the pandemic has been a time of great experimentation and adaptation, with a lot of changes that are here to stay and where technology will acquire ever more importance,” says María Belén Correa, manager of after-sales and educational services at Turnitin.

She adds that this has been apparent in the changes implemented by institutions “that had more distant plans for digitization and also those that were perhaps more prepared but, in any case, have had to deepen the use of tools of this type.”

To find out more about opportunities for edtech investment in Chile, see this article.

Source: Diario Financiero

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Topics: Start-Up- education- EdTech- COVID-19

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