Vietnamese edtech startup Azota announced it has secured $2.4 million in a Pre-Series A round led by GGV Capital, with participation from Nextrans and returning investor Do Ventures. The online platform lets teachers create and grade tests automatically and at the same time offers real-time exam proctoring and student performance tracking tools.
Azota will allocate the new funds to improve its system performance and develop new features for its products. Their goal is to become a holistic teaching platform for hybrid learning in the post-pandemic era.
Founded in 2021 by Dai Nguyen (COO), Hung Le, and Au Nguyen, Azota is the only local edtech product endorsed by the Ministry of Education and Training for the 2021 national online teaching training program.
Au, the firm’s CEO, said they believe that by reducing labor-intensive tasks, “teachers could better spend their valuable time on impactful actions such as working more closely with individual students or creating more engaging lessons for their students.”
Jixun Foo, GGV Capital global managing partner, said in a press statement, “Using technology to empower teachers to teach better, Azota makes great education accessible to millions of students. They can unleash the true potential of teachers to groom the next generation of Vietnamese youth.”
GGV (Granite Global Ventures) Capital is a global venture capital firm that invests in seed-to-growth stage investments across Consumer/New Retail, Social/Internet, Enterprise/Cloud, and Smart Tech sectors. The firm was established in 2000 in Singapore and Silicon Valley and managed over $9.2 billion in capital across 17 funds.
Vy Le, general partner at Do Ventures, said in an interview with Vietnam Investment Review that they are delighted to continue their investment in Azota. “We are thrilled to support an inspired and driven founding team from the beginning and see them evolve with a vision to transform education.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic led to an abrupt shift from in-person classes to virtual learning, the students weren’t the only ones affected. The teachers needed to step up and adjust to the situation. Before founding Azota, Au, who was working at Viettel at the time, led an educational unit on school management solutions, and that’s when he witnessed the many recurring issues teachers face daily. His team could not solve all of it then. Realizing the pain points in online learning, Au teamed up with his friends Dai and Hung.
“As the team sees it, there are two major scopes of work for teachers: teaching, and assigning and grading tests,” the founding team told TechCrunch in an email. “During the COVID times, teaching had to go online, and there were numerous tools to support this change such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, etc. But when it comes to online assigning and grading, there were few tools available, which made the process very labor-intensive and time-consuming.”
As a result, they built an optical character recognition app to automatically recognize Q&As from test images taken from teachers' phones. It shuffles those questions and answers to create hundreds of modified test combinations. Since the OCR was built using Vietnamese teaching materials, the team said it could recognize Vietnamese tests with a 99% accuracy rate.
Azota’s founders are also working on a more advanced question bank feature allowing teachers to pick and choose from its inventory to create exams from scratch.
The platform is designed with a focus on simplicity and perfectly fits with the behaviors of the majority of Vietnamese teachers. In just a year, Azota already has covered 30% of the national population, with about 22% coming from the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. In addition, they have supported 700,000 teachers and 10 million students and produced 300 million assignments/tests.
Aside from the endorsement from the Ministry of Education, the company also won the Gold Prize in the Make in Vietnam contest awarded by the Prime Minister and Minister of Information and Communications in December 2021.
Vietnam was listed in the top 10 fastest growing edtech markets globally, posting annual growth of 44.3%, according to the Vietnam Edtech Report 2021. By 2023, Vietnam’s E-learning market is projected to hit $4 billion.