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Thimble teaches kids STEM skills with robotics kits combined with live Zoom classes

Parents with kids stuck learning at home during the pandemic have had to look for alternative activities to promote the hands-on learning experiences kids are missing out on due to attending class virtually. The New York-based educational technology startup Thimble aims to help address this problem by offering a subscription service for STEM-based projects that allow kids to make robotics, electronics and other tech using a combination of kits shipped to the home and live online instruction.
Thimble began back in 2016 as Kickstarter project when it raised $300,000 in 45 days to develop its STEM-based robotics and programming kits. The next year, …

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The tech-powered wave of smart, not slow, tutoring sessions

While starting a tutoring marketplace is easy, scaling is often where the troubles begin. Tutoring marketplaces require a base of tutors that have the bandwidth and empathy to work with students across different learning styles, goals and comprehension levels. The nuance means that fast scale isn’t foolproof and can lead edtech startups into a classic marketplace downfall: the inability to grow consistently while also providing definite outcomes.
But, as 2020 showed edtech, the demand for quick and convenient help is high. To win post-pandemic, the sector needs to think bigger about the way it can reach more students in an …

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Tappity raises $1.3M for its interactive and educational video library for kids

When kids today want to learn about a new topic they’re interested in, they’ll often turn to YouTube. But the quality of the educational content on the platform can be hit or miss, depending on what specific videos kids happen to come across. Tappity, a digital educational startup now backed by $1.3 million in seed funding, aims to offer an alternative. Its video library offers entertaining and interactive live-action videos kids enjoy, while also ensuring the content itself is aligned with current educational standards.
The two-year old startup was co-founded by CEO Chad Swenson, his brother and CTO Tanner …

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As edtech grows cash rich, some lessons for early stage

Last week, Udemy, an online learning marketplace, raised $50 million at a $3.32 million valuation, up from a $2 million valuation earlier this year. Language learning app Duolingo raised $35 million on a $2.4 billion valuation, up from a $1.65 valuation from earlier this year.
The valuation bumps for both Duolingo and Udemy underscore just how much investor confidence there is in edtech’s remote learning boom. Today, let’s examine some lessons early-stage startups can learn from late-stage edtech.
Content is no longer king
Edtech startups that have figured out how to convey information while engaging users have  a competitive advantage but, as the information …

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WhiteHat Jr’s founder files $2.6M defamation suit against critic

Karan Bajaj, an Indian entrepreneur who teaches meditation and in his recent book invites others to live a life away from the noise, is going after the most vocal critic of his startup.

Bajaj, founder of coding platform aimed at kids WhiteHat Jr, has filed a defamation case against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer who has publicly criticized the firm for its marketing tactics, the quality of the courses on the platform, and aggressive takedowns of such feedback.

In the lawsuit — in which Bajaj is seeking $2.6 million in damages — Poonia has been accused of infringing trademarks and copyright of properties owned by WhiteHat Jr, defaming and spreading misleading information about the startup and its founder, and accessing the company’s private communications app.

The lawsuit also accuses Poonia of publicly sharing phone numbers of WhiteHat Jr employees and making strong accusations such as likening the startup’s marketing tactics to “child sexual abuse.”

But the lawsuit, riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes, is also indicative of just how little criticism WhiteHatJr, a startup owned by India’s second most valuable startup Byju’s, is willing to accept.

According to internal posts of a Slack channel of WhiteHat Jr shared by Poonia, the startup has aggressively used copyright protection to take down numerous unflattering feedback about the startup in recent months.

The suit also raises concern with Poonia accusing WhiteHat Jr of “murdering” an imaginary kid that featured in one of its earlier ads.

A 12-year-old child named “Wolf Gupta” appeared in earlier ads of WhiteHat Jr, which claimed that the kid had landed a lucrative job at Google. The kid does not exist, the lawyers of Bajaj say in the suit. Ironically that was also the point Poonia, who spent a long time trying to find more information about this kid, was making in his tweets.

More to follow…

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