Coding has become a new form of literacy in an ever-increasing digital world. Proficiency in coding has significant societal and individual ramifications including the potential to improve educational equality, STEM interest, critical reasoning skills, and building an inclusive workforce. Codecademy is one of the pioneering online coding education platforms, launched in 2011. The company now offers a robust catalog of interactive courses for web development, programming and computer science, and data science that focuses on the most relevant and in-demand skills. The startup has already has helped 50M+ individuals and the model is versatile depending on your preference and level of interest in coding with three main products – the free product, Codecademy Pro ($ 40) that offers unlimited access to the catalog of courses, and Codecademy for Business, which helps companies upskill their employees. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Zach Sims to learn more about the company’s evolution since its founding in 2011, future plans, and latest funding round from investors that include Owl Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and Prosus.
Based in Singapore, ErudiFi wants to help more students in Southeast Asia stay in school by giving them affordable financing options. The startup announced today it has raised a $ 5 million Series A, co-led by Monk’s Hill Ventures and Qualgro.
ErudiFi currently works with more than 50 universities and vocational schools in Indonesia and the Philippines. Co-founder and chief executive officer Naga Tan told TechCrunch that students in those countries have limited financing options, and often rely on friends or family, or informal payday lenders that charge high interest rates.
To provide more accessible financing options, ErudiFi partners with accredited universities and schools to offer subsidized installment plans, using tech to scale up while keeping costs down. Interest rates and repayment terms vary between institutions, but can be as low as 0%, with loans payable in 12 to 24 months.
By providing their students with affordable financing plans, ErudiFi can increase retention rates at schools, helping them keep students who would otherwise be forced to drop out because of financial issues.
Tan said ErudiFi’s value proposition for educational institutions is “being able to offer a data-driven financing solution that helps with student recruitment and retention. Students also greatly benefit because our product is one of the few, if not the only, affordable financing option they have access to.”
In a press statement, Peng T. Ong, co-founder and managing partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures, said, “Access to affordable tertiary education remains a huge pain point in Southeast Asia where the cost is nearly double then the average GDP per capita. ErudiFi is tackling an underserved market that is plagued with high-interest rates by traditional financial institutions and limited reach from peer-to-peer lending companies.”
ErudiFi’s Series A will be used on hiring for its product and engineering teams and to expand in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Which innovations are about to shape the way we eat or drink? An what novel ideas are there to make sure we have the right skills in the near future? The Blue Tulip Awards is moving towards answering those question, as they’ve just announced their top 5 finalists in both the Food & Water and the Education & Employment theme.
Top 5 finalists announced
Ranging from protein sourced from industrial emissions to a virtual bodyswap that lets you see the world through someone else’s eyes. These innovations convinced the jury of the Blue Tulip Awards during speed-dating sessions of their impact.
Not only the innovative nature of the product is important, as this year the judges also consider how the innovations promote security, sustainability and equality, and make a responsible contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These are the top 5 finalists in Food & Water theme and the Education & Employment theme of the Blue Tulip Awards.
Finalists Food & Water
- Next Generation Microplastic Filtration by ECOFARIO:
The world is waking up to the danger of microplastics. Invisible to the naked eye, they clog up waterways and pollute water wherever they go. It is essential to filter them out, and the German Ecofaria has a way to do that. ‘Filtering’ is not the right word, though. They create a giant swirl in the water, allowing gravitational forces to separate plastic from clean water.
- Greenpod labs by Greenpod Labs:
With over a third of all food going to waste, it’s about time we come up with a solution. Greenpod Labs from India is working on it by making a brand new packaging material. It is made from natural plant extracts to activate the inbuilt defence mechanism of fruits and vegetables, slowing down the ripening rate and minimising microbial growth. It extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, reducing the need to toss them out.
- World leader grasshopper protein producer by Hargol:
With a growing world population, providing every single one with a healthy, protein-filled diet is a challenge. There’s no way to do it with chicken, beef or pork. Israeli Hargol offers an alternative. Their proteins come from grasshoppers, yes the creepy-crawly ones, to offer a sustainable alternative.
- Emission reduction and circular precision farming by MEZT:
The agricultural industry of The Netherlands is renowned across the world. But back home, they are struggling with their footprint for which animal manure is partly responsible. MEZT refines this manure to produce organic mineral concentrates that can be used in bespoke fertilizer. They aim to close the loop on agricultural waste. Their use of bi-polar electrodialysis technology developed by TU Delft does not require chemical additives and produces green electricity.
- Proton by Deep Branch:
The world is predicted to consume more animals in the next couple of decades. All those animals need to be fed a protein-rich diet, which is currently hard to scale. UK-founded Deep Branch has developed a way to turn carbon dioxide from industrial emissions into a protein that is optimised for animal consumption. An innovation that could cut the carbon footprint of animal food production by 90 per cent.
Finalists Education & Employment
- SkillLab by SkillLab:
Don’t have a degree? Or maybe just not the right diploma? In an ideal world that shouldn’t hold you back to do what you love or what you are good at. SkillLab, from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is aiming for that world. They have developed an AI-driven solution to enable organisations to provide personal career orientation at scale by looking at skills and qualities instead of titles.
- Immersive Soft Skills Training by Bodyswaps:
With a name like ‘BodySwaps’, you expect some science fiction and this UK innovation delivers. It lets workers all over the world virtually step into someone else’s shoes to learn them all-important soft skills that are essential for communication, teamwork, leadership and employability. BodySwaps uses VR, AI & Behavioral Science for a scalable and impactful training solution
- Core technology behind reskilling by KIMO:
A one-stop-shop for learning content available online. Whether it is Coursera, Udemy, Harvard or Youtube, KIMO, from The Netherlands, adds it all together into a fully personalised offering. This leads to a modular reskilling solution that can work on any platform and in any country in the world.
- Sqriba by Jemax Robotics BV:
Sqriba is a smart tabletop that people can use to learn or re-learn their writing skills. Magnets underneath the surface guide the pen during writing or drawing exercises, helping to practice fine motor skills involved in writing. Sqriba, a Dutch invention, helps kids to write faster, but can also play an important role in revalidating.
- Agnostic 3D-VR instruction platform for industrial companies by AUCTA:
AUCTA from Germany has developed a way to make 3d-instructions available for any company, anywhere. It helps enterprises unlock the power of their data and enables synergies between departments and use cases by creating a low-cost cloud platform in which new instructions can easily be rolled out. As the word ‘agnostic’ implies, the hardware doesn’t matter. Whether it is a simple smartphone or an advanced VR-kit, it should do the trick just as well.
Winner is announced on March 4th
The finalists will face one final hurdle in the grand finale on March 4th, which is part of Accenture’s Forward/ event. The top 5 innovations will hold a 1-minute pitch and face in-depth questions from the judges. At the end of the moderated talk show, winners in both themes are announced. If you want to have a virtual front-row seat, make sure you register online and follow the event live. Blue Tulip Awards finals are part of the Dedicated Innovation Track parallel to the Cloud Tracks of the event.
How do I go about finding them? Yes, I have google VC in education, but are there other methods? I have an app and the teachers love it. I am also a teacher. It launched in March of 2020 in IOS. I have over 5k downloads in IOS and launched the Android version in Nov. I see this app being a one-stop-shop for anything that a teacher would need from buying a pencil to getting a car.
I don’t need the cash now I have been sailing fairly well, but I do want to look at the future, and eventually, when I am ready I would like to know what’s out there. Thank you.
Today Spanish company Ironhack has announced securing around €16.5 million Series B funding, in a round led by Lumos Capital, with participation from Endeavor’s Catalyst Fund, as well as existing investors, including Brighteye and Creas. Founded in 2013, Ironhack is a globally facing Tech School, ranked top 2 worldwide. Its mission is to help people…
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