Eliza Erikson
Venture Partner

Why We Invested: Geekie

December 4, 2016

If no two students learn the same way, why do many schools teach everyone the same way? The data shows that if all students received the one-on-one support and tutoring that many more affluent students receive, they would perform significantly better than their learning levels today. Not enough time, too many students, and lack of resources — the challenges facing today’s teachers are real and prevent many from providing the one-on-one attention that students need. As a result, uniformity and repetition have become mainstays in far too many classrooms, particularly in emerging markets like Brazil where for every two students that begin high school, one drops out.

This is the problem that inspired Claudio Sassaki and Eduardo Bontempo to establish Geekie in 2011. Five years later, Geekie is now Brazil’s leading adaptive learning technology company, driven by a growing body of research on the benefits of personalizing education to students’ needs and goals. The edtech company provides a range of web and mobile applications that adapt lessons to each student, helping them gain confidence and reach their full potential.

Geekie has also had success democratizing quality education, providing education opportunities to low- and lower-middle-income families that didn’t previously exist. At Omidyar Network, we support innovative and affordable technologies that have a positive impact on the learning outcomes of all students, which is why we invested in Geekie. The company is breaking down barriers for more underserved learners across Brazil and improve their prospects for employment and social mobility in the long term.

Geekie is the only company of its kind in Brazil that offers an integrated assessment, learning, and information management platform to school administrators, teachers, and students. The company’s adaptive learning platform, Geekie Lab, integrates with school curricula and provides teachers with digital lessons that identify students’ gaps in learning in real time and recommend interventions and supplementary activities for each student — empowering students to learn at their own pace. Geekie Lab has been adopted both by public and private high schools across Brazil to improve learning in the classroom and by high school students preparing for the high-stakes Exame Nacional do Ensino Medio (ENEM), the results of which are crucial for students trying to gain admission to college. This year alone, 4 million students have used Geekie Games — the platform focused primarily on preparation for the exam — to improve their chances to gain acceptance in prestigious public universities, leveling the playing field for learners across the country. Through the platform’s sophisticated machine learning, the more students that use Geekie, the more the platform can understand human learning behavior and tailor lessons accordingly.

We are excited by not only the remarkable scale that Geekie has achieved — but the learning outcomes. Students who use Geekie Games have improved their assessment scores by 30 percent on average.


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