Edtech Cleverbean has raised $200,000 in Seed funding from Victorian investor Skalata Ventures to help reduce teacher burnout at a time when record numbers are leaving the profession.
The startup provides thousands of evidence-based and research-backed learning materials for the K-6 Australian English curriculum.
Cleverbean was a co-founder with Lucy Chambers, a teacher, and Alina Hunter.
Chambers said a recent study by the Grattan Institute found that 76% of Australian teachers do not feel they are getting the support of schools to plan high-quality lessons, while 59% of teachers are experiencing burnout . Grattan called the result the “lesson lottery”. They hope to increase the chances of students winning with Cleverbean.
“At the core of what we do solves three main problems: providing the best quality materials for teachers, making sure they are lightning fast to find and making sure each student gets personalized feedback,” she said.
“As a teacher you often use social media to find pre-planned material to save time. But the concern is that there’s no standard of governance, making it hard for teachers to know if what they’re getting is really evidence-based and how.
Hunter said Cleverbean’s growth was fueled by word of mouth among teachers, who pay for the platform out of pocket. 96% of teachers using the platform report saving time when planning lessons.
“Of course we would much rather have schools pay for the product, not teachers. But the early validation we’ve seen from teachers gives us confidence that schools – and government – will adopt the technology on their behalf,” she said.
The duo are now considering introducing artificial intelligence into the platform to help teachers provide real-time feedback to students. Chambers said the concept came about after analyzing hundreds of pieces of classroom work, feedback from teachers and their level of experience, and realized that without consistent feedback, students’ abilities suffer.
“We are now using AI to give teachers time to focus on what matters: connecting, guiding, and providing that essential personal support to students,” said Chambers.
Tom Smalley, investment manager of Skalata, sees the edtech startup as a solution to several pain points in primary school education for educators, parents and students.
“Cleverbean gives the icy slow government a lesson in efficiency by going straight to teachers with a polished, research-based platform,” he said.
“In the recent budget, an additional $25 million was invested to test new ways to reduce teacher workload and maximize class time. But Cleverbean’s strong connection with teachers and impressive AI-assisted roadmap have shown that the solution may just be in sight.”