5 fresh ed-tech startups for summer

These ed-tech startups are making a splash with services ranging from language learning to college navigation for veterans

startups-edtech-newEducational technology startup companies are booming. During the first quarter of 2014, they raised more than $500 million — the highest number in capital in one quarter for this sector in the past five years.

Through the use of powerful technology, successful ed-tech startups are changing education in a variety of ways. Just think of the MOOC startup Coursera, which in its first two years had over 5 million users and more than 100 partner institutions.

The following five startups are increasing in popularity as they acquire more users and build powerful partnerships. You should keep them on your radar.

(Next page: 5 ed-tech startups to keep an eye on)
1. Lingua.ly
The international startup Lingua.ly offers free and customized online language learning experience in their WebApp. Made available via a Chrome extension in June, the technology uses click patterns, word look-up, and language exposure data to understand a user’s working vocabulary. Lingua.ly supports over 18 languages and offers a free dictionary, flashcard tools, and practice games.

The company uses web content — from articles to recipes — to naturalize language processing. Lingua.ly was the regional education startup winner at the 2014 Challenge Cup. In April, Lingua.ly launched an Android app which had more than 100,000 downloads in the first month. The startup plans to launch an iOS app by this fall, as well as expand support for more languages.

2. Ranku
With online education exploding in popularity, Ranku helps students figure out which online programs they should participate in. It is similar to an online degree marketplace.

On Ranku’s homepage, users can simply search for a degree, school, or interest. From there, they are shown the average total cost, minimum GPA, duration, and acceptance rate of certain online degree programs that matched their interests. The site only features non-profit schools that pay for their profiles on it. Ranku was crowned “Most Likely to Succeed” at the Software and Information Industry Association’s Education Industry Summit in May 2014.

3. Home Front Alliance
Service members in need of help during their college search process should look no further than Home Front Alliance, who recently created The Edge CCT, a free online college matching tool. Veterans, service members in active-duty, and even their family can use The Edge CCT.

On the website, users create a profile and search for their perfect college or university based on college-filters such as size, location, and cost. In the coming months, the startup is looking to improve promotion and registration.

(Next page: Two more ed-tech startups to check out)

4. Seelio
Seelio, short for “see my portfolio,” is a web-based startup that allows students to build online displays of their top projects and work. The startup’s founders created the website because they thought it was too hard for students to standout in today’s job market. Seelio provides free services to students, from their college enrollment to graduation.

The company is currently working with about 25 educational institutions, including Northwestern and the University of Texas. This startup garnered nearly $1 million in early investments this year. It was also recently purchased by Plattform, a worldwide marketing partner for colleges and universities.

5. uConnect
This startup targets the college career center. UConnect’s goal is to help students find post-college employment. The company keeps students in the know with custom email alerts and social media feeds. Its technology allows college career centers to centralize their campus recruiting activity on their own websites and job boards.

UConnect lets career centers “speak to students the way they want to be spoken to,” said David Kozhuk, the company’s chief executive at the LearnLaunchX edtech accelerator. Various schools have jumped on board, including MIT, which will launch uConnect in the fall.

For a more in-depth look at how — and why — ed-tech companies are booming, be sure to check out our feature story this Monday.

Molly Schulson is an editorial intern with eCampus News.