Smart Sparrow, an ed-‐tech start-‐up from Sydney, landed in San Francisco this month, and today announced a $10 million round of funding led by London-‐based Yellow Brick Capital. Yellow Brick joins Smart Sparrow’s existing investors OneVentures and Uniseed. This investment will help Smart Sparrow fuel its expansion into the US and meet the increasing demand among university faculty for rich, interactive and adaptive content and more control over their online teaching.
The company’s Adaptive eLearning Platform was developed with faculty in a research group for Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Educational Data Mining at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Their direct-to-academic approach contrasts with institutionally-‐focused ed-‐tech players, enabling an individual professor to develop engaging content while preserving academic control. The platform incorporates an authoring tool that allows professors to create adaptive learning experiences and to easily deploy them to students. There is also a learning analytics dashboard that allows professors to analyze their students’ learning and gives them recommendations on how the content can be improved to achieve better learning outcomes.
“The professor is at the center of our technology,” said Dr. Dror Ben-‐Naim, the founder and CEO of Smart Sparrow. “Professors don’t simply want to know if a student arrived at the right solution; they want to understand the learning process — our tools were designed with that goal in mind.”
“If creating such adaptive learning experiences is expensive, the market is going to be limited. Smart Sparrow’s platform simplifies and streamlines the development process,” said Johnathan Kol-‐Bar of Yellow Brick Capital. “This is a classic disruptive innovation that opens up an untapped market by taking a solution directly to professors, themselves. The company is showing fantastic traction and the growth potential in the US is very exciting.”
The company is currently hiring to round out its US “A-‐team” to service the growing number of US academics and institutions with offices now in Boston and San Francisco. In addition to geographic expansion, the capital will be used to accelerate development of its software platform to meet the needs of educators with a particular focus in science, medicine and engineering.
Smart Sparrow has already been embraced by American educators that seek to deliver richer online learning experiences with a focus on these “learning-‐by-‐doing” disciplines. “Unfortunately, too many online educational experiences rely on basic modalities like text, video and multiple choice quizzes,” said Ben-‐Naim. “But we all know that selecting the right answer is not like coming up with the solution yourself! We help educators teach smarter.”
Smart Sparrow’s Adaptive eLearning Platform is already used by academics from more than 400 educational institutions worldwide.
About Smart Sparrow
Smart Sparrow is an adaptive eLearning platform that lets anyone create rich, interactive and adaptive learning experiences. Smart Sparrow was founded in 2011 by Dr. Dror Ben-‐Naim who led a research group in the field of Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Educational Data Mining at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Smart Sparrow’s mission is to empower teachers to make the world smarter. For more information please visit: www.smartsparrow.com
About Yellow Brick Capital
Yellow Brick Capital Advisors (UK) Limited is a financial advisory firm regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.