Toronto-based education-tech startup NeverGrade has raised $300,000 of seed-funding from US-based Blackburn Capital and Campanile Investments. It is the startup’s first funding round, which launched as an offshoot from the parent company, Teach the Need, in August last year.
NeverGrade, co-founded by Sathya Parek and Sunny Cui, began when the two undergraduate students realized the amount of time that professors and teachers in both university and high school were spent marking tests as opposed to teaching students. Together with their previous experience in image processing and machine learning, they decided to create an app that is capable of scanning, marking, and exporting tests done by students via an Iphone or Android camera.
The startup has said that it intends to use the funds to optimize existing products, scale the platform, and promote it to reach more customers. NeverGrade is currently a desktop software used by 6,500+ teachers, but the founders state they want to expand to capture a more international audience, particularly in developing countries. They plan to achieve this by moving their software into a mobile app package, with additional features such as bluetooth syncing and central service connection.
NeverGrade works by integrating hard-copy tests with current machine learning innovations. Teachers or administrators can take a picture of any blank handout, and export to NeverGrade’s desktop application to input the correct answers. Then, any subsequent handout or test with student answers gets automatically graded via a taken picture. The founders estimate that it should save the speed of marking in classrooms by up to 80%, and can be used even in workplace settings such as hiring or administration organization.
Sunny Cui, one of NeverGrades co-founders, previously founded Teach the Need, a non-profit education startup that has expanded to three countries and over 50,000 registered students. He aims to translate his existing expertise and promotion capabilities from the education sector to fuel NeverGrade’s growth.
In a press release, NeverGrade stated to investors that school districts partnered with the platform make up the majority of NeverGrade’s revenue, accounting for 90% of all revenue. The startup has witnessed a 20% month-on-month growth.
“We are extraorrdinarily happy to announce our first seed. We appreciate all the teachers and schools who have been gracious enough to partner with us. We’re really excited for the journey ahead and can’t wait to expand our team. Education has, by a large extent, been deprived of technology, and we feel NeverGrade is a crutial step in modernising the modern classroom”, Sathya Parek, Co-founder, NeverGrade said in release.