Global educational intelligence platform HolonIQ published the latest edition of its LATAM Edtech 100, a report that analyzed information from more than 1,500 organizations linked to educational activities in Latin America to gather the list of the 100 most innovative. Among them is the Brazilian edtech TutorMundi, which stood out in the Tutoring & Test Prep category.
“At the beginning of the year, we already had good expectations for expansion. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, we have grown by 100%, precisely in an extremely challenging scenario in the world economy. Being on a list like that of HolonIQ is a sign that we are on the right path ”, says Raphael Coelho, CEO of TutorMundi.
The online tutoring app connects elementary and high school students with undergraduates for doubt-solving. “Tutors register on the platform and go through a selective process, assessments that require 80% performance and training in digital behavior, in which they need to reach a score of 100%”, says the executive in an interview with LABS.
The education startups sector is a market that attracts more capital each year. While edtechs started the past decade with $500 million in venture capital, that figure increased by a fourteenfold in 2019, reaching $7 billion in funding, according to data from HolonIQ. Over the next 10 years, the platform forecasts that more than $ 87 billion will be invested in the sector.
In number of companies, Beijing alone already has 3,000 edtechs, while New York has around 1,000 startups. In Brazil, the figure is more modest, but it also grows: according to the 2020 mapping of the Brazilian Startups Association, ABStartups, the country has 449 active edtechs, against 364 in 2018.
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With a chat entirely developed in-house, the TutorMundi application allows the student to take and send a picture of the question, and, based on the student’s profile and the difficulty level of the doubt, the platform identifies the most appropriate tutor. Coelho says that in 80% of the cases in which the student sends a question, the platform connects him with a tutor in less than 5 minutes. With service available 24/7, the platform has 2,000 tutors from renowned Brazilian universities, such as ITA, USP, and Unicamp. In operation in Brazil, the CEO of TutorMundi, however, says that the expansion to Latin America is in the plans.
“There are players of on-demand tutorings, such as TutorMundi, all over the world, except in Latin America.” For Coelho, expansion into the region is a natural path since the education systems between countries are similar: according to the executive, about 20% of schools in Brazil and Latin America are private, in addition to the university entry model being similar, since some countries, like Brazil, also adopt exams for access to higher education.
For now, the plan is to dominate the Brazilian online tutoring market in elementary and high school as well as reach three million students in the next five years. When it comes to international expansion, Mexico is the first country targeted by the startup.
TutorMundi has already reached around 70,000 students, 100,000 doubts posted, and more than 1 million minutes used in its application.
Technology is no barrier
Without requiring integration with the school systems, the TutorMundi application is available for students to download in less than 24 hours of the contract signature by the institution. “This [technology] is a barrier that we have never seen, since the beginning of product design. Precisely because we understand that this barrier existed, we focused on schooling through chat. We did validations, we put children from 7 to 18 years old to learn via chat and the result was surprising,” recalls Coelho. “We realized that as long as Whatsapp works, TutorMundi will work.”
According to the executive, for a didactic matter, the application also allows the sending of voice messages, images and videos, “but always messages, and we compress everything to be light to send”. Schools in the edtech portfolio are able to access individual reports of the main difficulties of students and monitor the learning process in a systematic way, something that makes the pedagogical management easier. The edtech’s contracts are primarily with private schools, but Coelho says that the startup has already been contacted by some public education departments.
“In the first two weeks after the interruption of classes (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), that was when we had the greatest growth. Then, there was stability, because people probably found what methods they would use during this period, ”says the executive, referring to mid-March, the beginning of the suspension of face-to-face classes in Brazilian schools due to the new coronavirus pandemic. “Now, new growth is coming, because they are realizing that the break was longer than they had predicted.” Coelho reports that the demand for the application by schools and institutions linked to education grew by about 1000% in the period.
In operation since 2016, the edtech has raised around $1.3 million, in investments headed by the Wharton Angels group, from San Francisco. In the beginning, the executive says that he traveled from Rio de Janeiro to Santa Maria, in the south of the country, to approach the university extension programs. “After the first tutors came in, they started to recommend each other.” University students who register on the platform as tutors receive from BRL 15 to BRL 50 per hour, but for Coelho, they also gain in retention and deepening of knowledge.
Brazilians on the radar
In addition to TutorMundi, the HolonIQ survey also highlighted other Brazilian edtechs in another seven categories. Among them, Descomplica, also from Tutoring & Test Prep, MindLab (Educational Resources and Experiences), Mundo 4D (Advanced Tech, Steam & Coding), Beetools (Language Learning), Provi (Education Financing), Geekie (Learning Environments), Quero Educação (Management Systems) and EduK Workforce Upskilling). Check the full list of the 100 most innovative edtechs in Latin America at the link.