In 2014, spending on education exceeded $ 5Tn, eight times more than the entire software market. Meanwhile, the EdTech continues a fast expansion. By 2020, $252Bn will be spent in this sector, according to EdTechXGlobal and IBIS Capital. Latin America represents the fourth largest market and promises rapid expansion.
In the PISA tests, the Latin American countries are usually at the bottom of the results. Even Chile, which has obtained the best reading and science results in the region, is below the OECD average.
Despite this performance, for Latinos education means a way to obtain better income. At a global level, there is a wide wage gap between people with higher education and secondary education, but this gap is even wider in LatAm. For example, in Brazil, the difference in wages is 41% on average, while in Mexico it is 51%.
LatAm likes to invest in Education
Latinos are willing to invest in education. In the region, 49% of higher education enrollment is found in private schools, a higher proportion than Asia and Europe, while professionals in Latin America use online platforms to stay competitive. These figures point to a need that is not being covered by governments and where EdTech companies have an area of opportunity to expand.
Of 190 startups in the EdTech sector that Endeavor identified, 56.7% are in Latin America. In the region, Mexico is the country with the most entrepreneurs in EdTech, with 13 cases; Brazil follows it with six, Colombia with five. Chile and Ecuador have three ventures, Argentina has two and Peru has one.
Successful EdTech Startups in Latam
LatAm already have success stories in EdTech. For example,
Platzi, Colombian startup founded by Colombian John Freddy Vega (CEO) and Guatemalan Christian Van Der Hents (COO) has received support from Google Developers Launchpad, and Combinator, Microsoft BizSpark, 500 Startups, among other accelerators. Among his achievements is the fact that 70% of his students complete the courses, which contrasts with 10% and 20% of Coursera and Udacity. Platzi has also managed to impact the Anglo-Saxon market.
Bedu is a Mexican startup founded by Moís Cherem. Part of his innovative proposal is to mix an online study model with face-to-face classes to strengthen the skills learned from the platform. Bedu was chosen to compete in the Global EdTech Startups Awards in January 2019.
BabySparks, a Colombian company founded by Gustavo Rodríguez, focuses on the early stages of learning, a need that is sometimes ignored by governments that prefer to invest at the top level. BabySparks supports children development through games and includes more than 1,300 video activities and development achievements. A judge chose this startup as Latin American champion in the regional contest of the Global EdTech Startups Awards.
Descomplica is a Brazilian startup founded by Marco Fisbhen that has received financing of 14 million dollars through venture capital funds such as Valar Ventures and Social Capital. Descomplica is defined as a fully online classroom.
Blended is a startup run by Federico Hernández that helps schools manage communication with parents, saving them time. This startup won the last Seedstars contest in Switzerland and is in the process of expanding in South America.
The success of these Latin American startups shows the commitment that the region has to improve its educational level. However, to further boost the growth of this sector, schools, teachers, and governments need to adopt new technologies to improve the classroom experience and the preparation of students.