A Wellington-based social enterprise has successfully closed a $1.5 million seed round that will help the company scale up its online education platform.
LearnCoach, which creates video tutorials, has an audience of more than 150,000 students. Those students have viewed the lessons more than a million times every year.
The tutorials are designed for students who want to learn NCEA subjects but can’t make it to a physical classroom, and for those who want to extend their knowledge beyond classroom learning.
This year, the company began offering students the ability to gain NCEA credits online through LearnCoach, thanks to its partnership with NZQA-approved The Learning Place.
The $1.5 million seed round attracted investors including ACG cofounder Danny Chan, Publons founder Andrew Preston, and Eden Ventures. Eden Ventures is interested in taking the low cost school system to Asia.
"Right now, students are telling us they want lots more courses than LearnCoach has been able to make,” says LearnCoach cofounder David Cameron.
“It’s a good problem to have but we need to quickly ramp up the amount of online lessons we offer and that’s what our seed round money will allow us to do.”
“We’ve just employed 30 full time teachers and tutors to create video lessons over the summer, in time for the start of the 2019 school year.”
Cameron cofounded LearnCoach with his wife Deborah Lambie and brother Mark back in 2012. A core philosophy for LearnCoach is to make education more engaging and accessible for all students.
Cameron says he was a teacher when the company was born, and initially wanted a way to be able to give more support to his students than the time and resource constraints of the job allowed him.
His own school days were something of a ‘love-hate’ relationship, he says. He received 141 detentions in his first two years at high school and was disengaged until he took his learning into his own hands.
Cameron hopes LearnCoach will allow the formation of ‘digital schools’ in underserves locations or even communities like refugee camps.
“This seed money will help us scale faster and reach more students with more relevant tutorials to help them succeed,” he explains.
“We’re thankful for the show of faith from investors and excited about how much positive impact that money will ultimately create in the lives of thousands of New Zealand school children.”
Cameron was also named as the 2018 Young New Zealander of the Year.