Both North and South of the border, students struggle with math and science education, and startups are swooping in with technology that can help them learn.
Tareasplus, an online education portal for the Spanish-speaking world, has raised $1.8 million. The company offers thousands of video lessons on math and science subjects for kindergarten all the way through early college.
Its library contains instruction on basic math, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, statistics, and more. The calculus section alone has 300 videos, each dedicated to a particular concept or lesson. The tutorials generally last between 9 and 12 minutes and are designed to supplement the learning students do in the classroom.
“Right now, more than half of students in Latin America do not develop the minimum skills needed to function in mathematics,” said founder and CEO Hernan Jaramillo. “One key reason these skills are falling behind in Latin America is due to resources. 88% of primary schools in Latin America don’t have science labs, and 40% have no libraries. The students and teachers are bright and hard workers, but many just lack the resources to make the grade.”
The content is produced and developed in Spanish by a network of subject specialists. The site averages 36,000 visitors a day from all over the world, though most users are in Colombia, Mexico, and Chile. The founders were both born in Medellin, Colombia, and have advanced math and science degrees, as well as experience in entrepreneurship.
“Roberto Cuartas and I met while we were studying engineering in college,” Jaramillo said. “We were both tutoring kids to pay our way through school. From our tutoring, we discovered that if we were simply able to “unrestrict” the time it took our students to learn a specific lesson, we could get them to master it. This, paired with the massive distribution capabilities of YouTube, allowed us to produce and replicate our individual tutoring efforts with the highest possible scale.”
Despite targeting the Latin American market, Tareasplus is based in San Francisco to be at the center of the technology (and venture capital) community. The company has raised $1.8 million in seed funding from Academic Partnerships, an organization that helps public universities extend their reach through technology. It will use the investment to expand the platform.