The $1.25 million funding round demonstrates faith in bringing new kinds of edtech programs to schools in Canada and the United States
Waterloo startup Knowledgehook announced Wednesday the close of a seed round worth CA$1.25 million to use a new approach to math for struggling students.
The round included angelic money coming from AOL Co-Founder Steve Case and Boston Scientific Co-Founder John Abele but was led by Sayan Navaratnam of Aadya Capital.
“Having his support is tremendous, both in terms of visibility and access to the American market,” Knowledgehook Co-Founder and CEO Travis Ratnam said of Case. The software makes recommendations to instructors about how to better tutor students based on their personal needs regarding math and has already made more than 6,000 such suggestions according to the company.
Their main program, GameShow, allows students to collaborate and share their approach to problem-solving with each other.
The company is active throughout Ontario, working with 75 percent of school boards across the province according to the company, but “We have actually started to expand more into the US,” Ratman explained, as well as plans for Australia and the UK. They are also veterans of Communitech’s Rev program and Accelerator Centre’s AC JumpStart. They’ve also received funding from Ontario Centres for Excellence (OCE).
“If we want to change the world, we’re going to have to train a generation that is proficient in math,” Ratnam said this past May at Google Demo Day in San Francisco, where not only did Knowledgehook won Google’s Game Changer Award but also Case sat as a judge during the pitch competition.
Aside from major cities like Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver, the ecosystem in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge triangle of Ontario is the most successful startup ecosystem in Canada — 25th in Compass’ Global Startup Ecosystem report. It also has the highest density of startups in the world outside of Silicon Valley
“Knowledgehook is a great example of what’s happening in Waterloo. The whole edtech space is focused on some real problems. Personalized, adaptive learning systems are clearly important for the next generation of learners,” Case reportedly told Demo Day presenters.
Aadya Capital is an early-stage investor with a focus on the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, Silicon Valley, and Austin, Texas according to Crunchbase. The firm does not appear to have any previous investments that might indicate a strategy or industry focus.
Founded in 2014, was founded by Ratnam, COO James Francis, CTO Lambo Jayapalan, and CPO Arthur Lui.