Poland-founded edtech Smartschool raises $1.5M in a pre-Seed round

Smartschool, a San Francisco-based edtech startup, has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed round. The investors are Inovo VC, The Explorer Fund, and several business angels.

The company has developed an AI-guided learning system for K-12 students with the goal of combating educational inequalities. Its developed Yoko, an AI assistant specifically designed to help students in the US prepare for the SAT exam — a crucial test for college admissions. Its cost is far lower than hiring a traditional tutor.

Yoko assesses each student’s unique needs, identifies their learning gaps, and creates a personalised learning plan aimed at bolstering their areas of weakness. Just like a human tutor, Yoko ensures students grasp every concept and monitors their progress to help them achieve their learning objectives efficiently. Thousands of students have already utilised Smartschool’s AI learning assistant to enhance their SAT scores.

“A 2023 study by Harvard’s Opportunity Insights revealed that SAT takers from families in the top 20 per cent income bracket were seven times more likely than those from the bottom 20 per cent to score at least 1300 out of 1600, considered a competitive score. These higher-scoring students often benefit from access to advanced courses and costly private tutoring, which address their learning gaps more effectively. Our AI assistant, priced comparably to an ebook, offers high-quality, personalised learning experiences accessible to everyone at any time” says Paul Burzynski, co-founder of Smartschool.

The company was founded by Matt Maslowski, Paul Burzynski, and Agata Mroczkowska, each drawing from their personal educational experiences to emphasise the importance of individualised learning. Inspired by a high school computer science teacher, Matt and Paul, friends since school, pursued computer science at the University of Warsaw and the University of Cambridge, respectively. They later established a tutoring agency that has assisted over 1,000 European and Southeast Asian students in exam and competition preparation.

The funding comes from Inovo VC, The Explorer Fund, and angel investors, including Andreas Michaelides, Chief of Psychology at Noom, and Konrad Howard, co-founder of Booksy

Michał Rokosz, partner at Inovo VC said: SmartSchool embodies the ideal qualities we seek in a pre-seed investment: a vast market potential, a robust and well-rounded team proficient in education, technology, and market entry strategies. They have successfully launched a product that has significantly aided numerous students in excelling at their SAT exams.”

Marcin Pogroszewski, General Partner at The Explorer Fund, shared: “AI tutors are infinitely patient, improve over time, have perfect memory, cost just a fraction of a human tutor, and are available 24/7. It’s not just a marginal improvement; it’s an order-of-magnitude improvement that will unlock and democratise the tutoring market to people who previously couldn’t afford to participate. The question is not if but who will first nail product-market fit. At The Explorer Fund, our bets are always on people — and the team behind Smartschool — Matt, Paul, and Agata — is exceptional, with core competency in AI and a track record of excellence.

The funds will help accelerate market presence in the US and further develop content and products.

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