Germany’s StudySmarter raises €12.5M to become the world’s central hub for learning; here’s how


The COVID-19 pandemic has created a systemic shift in the education landscape, opening the door for edtech startups globally to impact the future of learning. As a result, the demand grew significantly, e-learning became the new normal, and the investors understood the sector’s potential. 

According to a report, Europe edrech and smart classroom Market are expected to reach $61,250M (approx €50,995M) by 2027 from $20,571M (approx €17,126M) in 2019. The market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 14.6 per cent from 2020 to 2027.

Various edtech startups are taking advantage of the upward trend, and the Munich-based StudySmarter is one of them. This content-agnostic platform digitises the entire learning process of every learner – be it pupils, students, or employees.

Raised €12.5M

Recently, the German startup secured $15M (approx €12.5M) funding in a Series A round led by global edtech-focused VC fund, Owl Ventures, with the notable B2C focused, New York-based, co-investor Left Lane Capital. 

Other investors, including Lars Fjelsoe-Nielsen (formerly WhatsApp, Uber, and Dropbox) and existing investor Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (DvH Ventures), also participated. 

The funding will be used to accelerate the company’s mission of becoming the global platform for lifelong learning. 

Uses Natural Language Processing

Founded by Christian Felgenhauer, Maurice Khudhir, Till Söhlemann, and Simon Hohentanner in 2018, StudySmarter turns any kind of text or content into an interactive course generated in part through the use of natural language processing (NLP).

The spin-off of the TU Munich & LMU Munich helps learners, professionals, and content publishers, create their content, such as lecture notes, summaries, flashcards, exercises, and much more. 

Tailors recommendations

The company’s algorithm analyses the user’s pattern to build highly tailored courses. It includes automatically generating flashcards, creating a plan, prioritising areas where there are learning gaps; scheduling calendars based on exam dates; sending reminders to study, and rewarding learning with badges and achievements. To date, users can access more than 25 million pieces of content. 

How was StudySmarter born?

Every third student breaks off their studies in Germany, claims the company. The founders came up with the idea to create an education platform that supports students in exam preparation, thus reducing the drop-out rate and helping individual users to achieve their individual learning goals.

“More than one in three students drop out because of challenges they face in their learning process,” says Maurice Khudhir, Co-Founder of StudySmarter. “That’s why we founded StudySmarter as an intelligent platform that supports learners individually throughout their entire learning journey. Our platform has the power to enable access to digital education and ensure successful outcomes for hundreds of millions of learners across the globe. With Owl and Left Lane, we have found the perfect partners who share our vision to become the world’s central hub for learning.”

1M new users

The German startup has gained more than 1 million new users, becoming the fastest growing learning platform for pupils and students in the Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH) region in one year. 

Notably, StudySmarter is the digital content provider of many renowned publishers such as Pearson and is used by global giants, such as Amazon and BMW, to reach potential employees and graduates via non-intrusive adverts. 

Awards and initiatives

Earlier this year, StudySmarter was named “Official Best Educational App Gold Award Winner” by Wharton-QS Reimagine Education Awards 2020, also known as the Oscars of Education. 

The company also launched the #SmartMINT initiative earlier this year to promote a career in the STEM fields among female students. “34%. The percentage of women in STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in Germany is alarmingly low. Therefore, it is StudySmarter´s goal to counteract this inequality,” says the company in its official blog.

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