There are signs that do not deceive. The 100 million euros raised in March by Educapital, the largest French – and European – investment fund dedicated to edtechs, is one of them. Born five years ago, he had gathered 47 million euros to supply his first vehicle. The second thus harvests the double. The Covid crisis, of course, is in no way foreign to this acceleration, raising awareness of the importance that digital technology can have in learning or educational continuity. And it’s a whole sector that benefits: according to an EY study, edtech in France represented in 2021 1.3 billion euros in turnover and 438 million euros raised. An ecosystem carried by a handful of locomotives, rather positioned on the vocational training market, followed – from afar – by a myriad of young shoots who also intend to play their part.
2,000 families supported
Among them, the online English school Hipe Kids. Based in Nice, it offers English lessons for children aged 3 to 18 leading to a Cambridge English certification. “There are real gaps in the education offer in France, both online and face-to-face”notes Mehdi Benrahhalate, co-founder of edtech, supporting studies: “85% of high school students are not at the level expected at the Bac. Same observation in middle school, with 50% of middle school students behind in relation to the requirements requested in 3rd grade“. The engineer and his partner, Carmina Catena, an English teacher and educational expert, have therefore set up a platform tested in 2018 during the Woman Hackers Action Tank 06 and validated by the innovation prize. With the idea of ”offer an initial assessment, free of charge, which aims to understand the learner, his level, his objectives, his educational needs, his personality too, in order to offer him a tailor-made course with the teacher who is well, of course of English mother tongue , and this through adapted 25-minute lessons at the end of which a report is sent to the parents“.
Launched in 2018, the company started its activity with about twenty families beta testers. Today, it claims 500 regular families, against 350 in 2021, for a close turnover of around 200,000 euros. “In four years, we have taught English to more than 2,000 families“, he underlines.
Gamification and artificial intelligence
Winner of the 2022 Réseau Entreprendre 06, Hipe Kids has also just joined the Village by CA in Sophia Antipolis with the aim of structuring itself for an upcoming fundraiser. The expected amount of the round table in preparation is 1 million euros, which the manager would like to conclude by the end of the year in order to improve the platform to accommodate more families and allow more fluid navigation. Above all, Mehdi Benrahhalate plans to include gaming and artificial intelligence in addition to the online courses delivered by teachers. Because if the manager intends to keep the human being at the heart of the learning system, he also wishes to enrich the learner’s journey by giving him access to personalized resources in the form of games according to the needs identified. And thus keep the student on the platform longer. In the meantime, Hipe Kids is gearing up for a ramp up. Working with around 40 teachers worldwide, it plans to increase its teaching staff to 120 by next summer.
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AI and gaming, growth levers for Edtech Hipe Kids
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