Ma received a quality education in private schools, but noticed that the friends he grew up with did not have the same opportunities. Now he is working to fix it.
Ma is the co-founder of Numerade Labs Inc., a Santa Monica-based educational technology startup that uses artificial intelligence and short videos to coach students.
When a student searches the company’s 1.2 million videos and interactive courses given by certified tutors – Numerade said the collection is the largest of its kind – the database uses AI to suggest courses and generate tests for students.
“Going to these private schools really opened my eyes to the lack of access to educational resources, especially tutoring,” Ma said. “A lot of my friends and peers from my high school years had these resources. Then I got home on the bus to South Central LA, and many of these students didn’t.
Ma said Numerade started out as a “hub”. Ma and her co-founder Alex Lee had another educational technology company before Numerade called Tutorcast Inc., but found that the price of classes on the platform was still out of reach for many families.
Thus, in 2017, the duo integrated Tutorcast into Numerade, setting themselves the objective of offering tutoring that is affordable and accessible to a wider audience. Numerade charges users $ 9.99 per month or $ 83 per year to access courses.
Since its launch, Numerade has become a success, attracting more than 20 million students ranging from college to graduate students, Ma said.
“We believe we have a huge opportunity and also a responsibility to help bridge the learning gap caused by distance learning,” he said.
In addition to gaining popularity with students, Numerade has recently gained the attention of investors. The company announced on July 20 that it had raised $ 26 million in Series A funding, with the participation of investors from companies such as IDG Capital, Alumni Ventures Group, Interplay Ventures and Toy Ventures.
As students have made their bedrooms their classrooms amid the pandemic, education technology has exploded. According to research firm Grand View Research Inc., the U.S. educational technology market is valued at over $ 106 billion in 2021, up 19% from around $ 89 billion in 2020.
Ma said he plans to use the funding to further the company’s goal of closing this learning gap. This will include a wave of aggressive tutors hiring and the continued development of Numerade’s AI tutor technology.
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