Macmillan Digital Education Invests in Brazilian EdTech Start-ups Veduca and Easyaula
Macmillan Digital Education has made a significant move into the Brazilian EdTech market with investments in two Brazil-based start-ups targeting the adult education sector – Veduca and Easyaula. These investments bolster Digital Education’s local presence as a serious “go-to” investor for EdTech entrepreneurs in the Latin American region.
Veduca (veduca.com.br) is an online video platform that aggregates and curates publicly available educational content from the world’s top universities and annotates this content with meta tags and Portuguese subtitles to make it searchable based on key words; thus making it easily accessible to the Brazilian population.
Easyaula (easyaula.com.br) is an online educational marketplace that makes it easy for people to learn anything from anyone. This online marketplace taps into existing communities and networks to provide offline classes to aspirational adults, focusing on extra-curriculum and mainly professional subject areas.
As an active early-stage investor in the sector, Macmillan Digital Education targets businesses which complement its ecosystem of services in the online education space and develops e-learning products and services to empower students on their lifelong learning journey.
Commenting on the investments, Managing Director of Macmillan Digital Education, Matthias Ick, said today, “This is a major step in our intention to provide a catalyst for the next phase of our ambitious plans in Brazil and the wider region. Together with Veduca and Easyaula, we will support and enhance the development of technology-driven education in Brazil. Both brands will play an important role in helping us reach our goal to support people in their life-long learning journey.”
Veduca democratises access to top-quality education in Brazil by offering free video content from lectures from a wide range of subjects from some of the world’s top universities, including MIT, Harvard, Yale & Princeton. Shown in their original English language format, subtitled in Portuguese, students can follow university lectures on a wide variety of subjects. Registering gives the user the ability to leave comments, rate lectures, and create a favourites’ playlist. The service also boasts collaborative subtitling – whereby any user can help to translate the content to Portuguese. Intelligent content curation via meta-tag searching of the course content has been the key to Veduca’s early success and early reputation as a market leader in Brazil.
Veduca founder and CEO Carlos Souza said today: “We’re proud to join Macmillan Digital Education and be a part of continuing Macmillan’s tradition of delivering the highest quality learning experience in Brazil.”
Easyaula believes that learning is a continuous lifelong journey, and that the current education system does not give students all the tools they need in order to learn the skills they must use in our ever-changing world. Easyaula’s purpose is to transform the way people find, consume and teach educational content through a platform that organizes informal learning and improves traditional learning by connecting teachers and students directly, allowing students to learn the subjects they need to excel in their professional and personal lives while creating highly paid, successful professors. The platform will be further developed to provide a broad range of high quality classes and a range of learning analytics via an online platform.
Diego Alvarez, CEO and founder of Easyaula, said today, “It is a great privilege to partner with a company which shares our long term vision and belief in the future of adult education in Brazil.”
Macmillan has a long and rich history of commitment to the teaching of English at all levels and has been active in Brazil since 1994. It gives special attention to producing teaching materials that reflect the cultural conditions and country specific curriculum, providing teachers, students and educational institutions a wide range of high-quality tailor-made materials in print and electronic format. The rapid improvement of the nation’s English language teaching is a priority for both government and industry as Brazil seeks to benefit from the economic and cultural benefits that will be afforded to it by for the forthcoming 2016 Olympic Games.
Macmillan Digital Education’s investments are part of a broader initiative to investment in start-up businesses within Macmillan’s Science & Education division. Under its CEO Annette Thomas’s direction, the division has invested in three technology-led start-up businesses over the past two years: Macmillan Digital Education, which invests into and builds consumer-focused educational services, Digital Science, which specialises in providing software solutions for scientists and Macmillan New Ventures, which discovers and develops innovative and proven technologies for educational development.
Macmillan’s more established businesses – Macmillan Education, Macmillan Palgrave, Nature Publishing Group and Macmillan Higher Education – have all built strong brands and an enviable track record for editorial excellence by taking a content-led, technology enabled approach. It is the fusion of the new disruptive technology start-up businesses with the editorially-rich established players that enables Macmillan to evolve its overall business and fuel quicker access to new markets and new opportunities.
Veduca has already been supported by VC firms 500Startups and Mountain do Brasil.
500Startups is an investment fund and accelerator headquartered in Silicon Valley, USA. With an active network of 200 mentors it provides early stage companies with funding, mentoring and support with access to its accelerator program and unique events. Investments in Brazil and Latin America are led by Yang Bedy.
Mountain do Brasil SCA is a Luxembourg based seed and early-stage investment company with focus on high-growth Brazilian, web-centric ventures. The company invests in as well as offers full support for ambitious Brazilian entrepreneurs from its offices in São Paulo, Brazil. Mountain do Brasil was founded by Brazilian and European entrepreneurs and investment specialists with hands-on knowledge in building businesses, a wealth of experience in seed and angel investing as well as in internationalising high-growth web businesses.
Easyaula received coaching and hands-on support from mentors from the prestigious 21212 Digital Accelerator Program. The mentorship-driven seed stage accelerator program is located in Rio de Janeiro, and New York. Its four to six month long program is concentrated on building companies focused on the exploding digital market in Brazil. Admission to 21212 is highly competitive – hundreds of companies from all over Brazil apply. Each admitted company receives seed funding, shared office space, hands-on mentoring and the chance to pitch to the world’s best angel investors and venture capitalists.
About Digital Education: Launched in January 2012 by one of the world’s leading educational publishers, Macmillan Digital Education captures opportunities in the consumer online education markets. As a corporate venture capital investor and incubator, it is technology and service driven to make learning more effective and fun whilst embracing a user- centric business understanding.
About Macmillan Science & Education: As part one of the largest and best known international publishing groups in the world, the new global division of Macmillan Science and Education is characterised by seven high-quality academic, scholarly and educational businesses. The division operates in more than 70 countries around the world, supporting scientists, professors, teachers, journalists, editors, writers and entrepreneurs every step of way, to empower learning and discovery.