NeverGrade, a Toronto-based education technology startup, has raised $300,000 in a seed funding round 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.
Teach the Need is a non-profit organization founded by one of NeverGrade’s co-founders, Sunny Cui, with the goal of reducing education inequality by making tutoring more accessible. It offers free 1-on-1 and group tutoring virtually to underserved high school students who have exhausted their available education resources.
NeverGrade from Teach the Need is a time-saving and convenient automatic grading software used by teachers around the world. It began when two undergraduate students, Sathya Parek and Sunny Cui, realized the amount of time that professors and teachers in both university and high school were spent marking tests as opposed to teaching students. Using their 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.
We are extraordinarily 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 crucial step in modernizing the modern classroom, Sathya Parek, Co-founder, NeverGrade, said in a release.
NeverGrade works by integrating hard-copy tests with machine learning innovations. Teachers or administrators can take a picture of any blank handout and export it 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 startup claimed that its application saves the speed of marking in classrooms by up to 80%, and can be used even in workplace settings such as hiring or administration organizations.
NeverGrade 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 over 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.
According to NeverGrade, school districts partnered with the platform make up the majority of its revenue, accounting for 90% of all revenue. The startup claimed to witness a 20% month-on-month growth.