The EdTech market is expected to steadily grow in the next few years even though the main driver behind its explosive growth, a.k.a. the global pandemic, is stepping back. Face-to-face instruction has been sorely missed under quarantine restrictions, and eager students are returning in droves to the physical classroom. Still, virtual tools have proved to be too handy to let them go.
Currently, the market is driven not by novel technologies but rather customer demand, with learners shifting more and more to eBooks, preferring online courses they can take anywhere, and favoring game-based learning. These tendencies are expected to grow with younger cohorts joining the student demographic, thus continuing the overarching trend towards blended learning that started back in the middle of the past century.
Of course, the bulk of this growth will be driven by giants and established names such as Alphabet, Blackboard, Chegg, and Duolingo. At the same time, many small startups targeting particular niches, although having a tiny share of the whole pie, are projected to grow explosively, so you might keep an eye on those.
Since EdTech is such a vast field with so many various niches (early education, special education, K12, higher ed, etc.), we have focused on a few independent “soonicorns” with the most original concepts and showing good dynamics so far.
Below are our top picks for two educational startup categories: best in action-based, skill-oriented learning, and in general erudition, knowledge-oriented learning. That’s right! Despite all the information in the world being at your fingertips online, people still like to get their nuggets of knowledge in a structured way that allows building a consistent picture with no blank spaces. Likewise, mentors and instructors aren’t going anywhere, with tutoring and peer-learning platforms taking their fair share on the list below.
Skill-Oriented Education Tech Startups Growing in 2022-23
To kick off, let’s look at the most niche startups that target practical skills, answering the popular demand for skill-based hiring practices and skill-based learning.
Search growth: 130%
Located: New York, NY, United States
Skillshare’s popularity grew dramatically during the pandemic. Still, even in the wake of it, it’s going strong with over 800K active members learning from 11K+ teachers.
Search growth: 2100%
Located: Duluth, MN, United States
This company targets writing skills and academic writing in particular. PaperHelp practices a personalized approach. A user describes the parameters of the writing task they struggle with and, based on that, is assigned a paper writer with suitable qualifications to consult, edit, and write samples on demand.
Users are mainly college students struggling with particular paper formats or seeking to improve their style, grammar, spelling, or structure in order to gain confidence. However, the model is very flexible, allowing for a wide price range and customizability, so it attracts customers from all walks of life globally.
Search growth: 1033%
Located: Copenhagen, Denmark
Labster is a VR tool designed to simulate laboratory conditions for conducting experiments virtually. It proved invaluable during the pandemic when students had no access to school resources, yet it is still very relevant. Students can visualize theory and hone their skills in a safe environment before crossing the threshold of a real lab.
Likewise, learners living in remote locations or homeschooled with no access to lab facilities will benefit from Labster, allowing them to practice their lab skills in virtual reality.
Search growth: 190%
Located: Tel Aviv, Israel
Simply (formally JoyTunes) is a host of apps for teaching people of all ages how to play musical instruments online (Simply Piano, Simply Guitar, Simply Sing, etc.) Created by a team of professional musicians and developers, it is powered by proprietary acoustic recognition software that analyzes the sound of learners playing and singing, giving them immediate feedback.
Being more affordable than face-to-face lessons with a music teacher and boasting a fresh and friendly user interface with live videos and hand-drawn illustrations, Simply makes learning music approachable and less intimidating. It is a perfect tool for everyone interested in music as a hobby or making the first tentative steps as a newbie musician.
Search growth: 900%
Located: San Francisco, CA, United States
Mursion is another VR simulator on the list. It teaches interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence with the help of AI recognition, experts, and professional actors. It is marketed as a tool for immersive workplace training for industries with high-stakes human interactions, such as hospitality, healthcare, governmental services, etc.
Mursion works with unconscious biases for more inclusion and belonging but can be applied for general soft-skill training in professionalized communication.
Knowledge-Oriented Education Technology Startups Growing in 2022-23
Skills are, of course, growing in importance. They are easy to test and look nice on the resume. However, creativity and innovation are impossible without general erudition and comprehensive knowledge of your field. That’s why knowledge-oriented startups are also booming.
Search growth: 9600%
Located: Vienna, Austria
GoStudent is a K12 online learning and tutoring platform. It matches tutors in a wide variety of school subjects, from math to arts, with students of all age groups and needs.
Based in Austria, it has grown its presence across the continent and become the highest-valued edtech platform in Europe, worth $1.6 billion. The content and tutoring are currently available in 10 European languages, including UK English. Looks like it is only a matter of time before GoStudent will compete in other regions of the world.
Search growth: 366%
Located: Silver Spring, MD, United States
CuriosityStream is a subscription-based video streaming platform created specifically for educational content like documentaries and exclusive series on history, physics, arts, society, economics, etc. One of the strongest selling points is flexible and very affordable plans.
Dubbed “Netflix for learners,” it shows more promise than its namesake. While Netflix lost many subscribers, CuriosityStream grew its count by 50% last year. Available languages are currently limited to English and German, but it’s still early days.
Search growth: 1250%
Located: Pune, India
Teachoo is another learning platform with exploding growth. It offers original study materials, tutoring, and sample solutions. Subjects taught range from school disciplines (Biology, Math, Science, PE) to practical skills for graduates such as MS Excel, payroll and taxation, etc.
It targets English-speaking students in India but has all the potential to expand its geographic reach.
Search growth: 833%
Located: Kraków, Poland
Brainly is a social learning network where you can ask experts and peers to explain a particularly complex passage from a textbook or show you a step-by-step solution to a challenging problem. You can also search topical areas for previously asked and answered questions: Math, History, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Social Studies, Geography, Health, Arts, Engineering, Law, Medicine, a variety of world languages, and tests, such as SAT, AP, etc.
Basically, it’s a Q&A platform focusing on peer learning, but its growth is quite impressive, so keep an eye out for Brainly.
Search growth: -66%
Located: New York, NY, United States
Although Noodle is a smaller player than multi-billion giants of MOOCs like Coursera, 2U, and edX, it is the fastest-growing one. Recently, the company’s focus shifted from attempting to enter the market under its own banner to partnering up with higher education institutions in order to help build their online presence and brand.
Noodle has a robust online learning infrastructure. Schools have quality content and a vast pool of potential clients for lifelong learning programs (alums, in particular). Noodle CEO John Katzman, the serial EdTech entrepreneur, with his usual audacity, promises to “disrupt online learning” and “revolutionize how great universities compete in the lifelong learning space.” Looks quite promising.
Of course, these are just the tip of the veritable iceberg that is EdTech today. If you are interested in this topic, here are some more EdTech startups you might find worthy of attention.