5 women changing the face of EdTech
Although the EdTech industry is still a male-dominated world, women are muscling their way in to get their piece of the pie. According to one study, 30% of education startups have at least one woman on their founding team – nearly double the number of companies started by women in other tech sectors.
In light of International Women’s Day, we’re championing five women who are smashing the glass ceiling and changing the face of EdTech. What connects all these women? They were all once teachers of course.
Cindi Mi – CEO and Cofounder of VIPKid
Learning early in life the value of education, Cindi used to spend her lunch money on magazines and audiocasettes to teach herself English. Fast forward several years and she’s revolutionised the way children learn English.
Cindi Mi is the CEO and Cofounder of online teaching platform VIPKid, an online-classroom portal that pairs native English teachers with Chinese students aged 5 to 12 years old.
Inspired by her English teaching experience at 15, Cindi saw the untapped potential of online learning and decided to build her own platform. Now, having successfully raised $200 million dollars to finance the company, VIPKid is valued at $3 billion, making it China’s market leading EdTech startup.
Daphne Koller – Co-founder of Coursera
Stanford University professor and female EdTech pioneer Daphne Koller transformed the world of online learning when she founded Coursera back in 2012. Now she’s hoping to do it again with her new education platform Engageli.
Promising to reimagine the world of EdTech, Engageli is a purpose built platform, designed from scratch and set to rival the old lockdown-faithfuls Zoom and Google Meet.
Whereas these platforms served a function during the pandemic, Daphne wanted to create something from the ground up, specifically designed as a virtual classroom for higher education. With smaller virtual tables, built-in note taking systems and brand new ways of executing quizzes – she may have just cracked it.
Susie Seaton – Co-founder of Twinkl
Susie Seaton is the face behind the holy-grail of online teaching materials – Twinkl. While working as a primary school teacher, Susie struggled to find decent classroom resources to make her classes sparkle.
Seeing a gap in the market, Susie and her husband Jonathan created a digital lesson library from their own spare bedroom. Today they have more than 625,000 resources on their website, over 710 members of staff and a business that operates in 200 countries around the world.
Twinkl has won several awards including The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation 2020. They also became the hero of homeschooling during the Coronavirus pandemic, making all of their resources free for parents and teachers across the globe.
Priya Lakhani – CEO and Founder of CENTURY Tech
Bogged down by marking and repetitive admin tasks, Priya Lakhani left teaching and became an advisory board member to the secretary of state. She was then so shocked by the alarming number of underachieving kids in the UK that she decided to start her own EdTech company to tackle the issue.
Teaching “gave me useful insights into some of the challenges facing educators and made me question the traditional model of education” she told The Guardian.
Priya’s company – CENTURY Tech – uses AI-powered technology to aid personalized learning and differentiation in the classroom. It is now being used in hundreds of schools across the world – everywhere from British independent schools to Lebanese schools with a high population of refugee students. They’re also working hard to help combat the educational shake-up caused by lockdown and the pandemic.
CENTURY Tech is one of Hubbub Labs’ edtech startups to watch in 2021.
Siobhain Archer – Founder of Teachit
Siobhain Archer’s inspiration for EdTech firm Teachit came from a shared cardboard box in the corner of the staffroom. As a secondary school teacher Siobhain knew the value of teachers helping other teachers. The company has now grown to 480,000 users sourcing and swapping resources online.
“It’s vital to keep teachers at the heart of any successful EdTech enterprise. Too often, the tech leads the process, which means tech for the sake of tech” Siobhain says.
Happy international Women’s day!
Are you a woman in EdTech looking to start your own business or enhance your career? Would you like to stay up to date with the latest trends for female techies and entrepreneurs?
Our comprehensive guide for women in tech Barcelona is a great place to start. We’ve unearthed all the best schools, meet-up groups and conferences to help your journey to success. Check it out now!