Months after its $80 million Series B fundraise, Course Hero has acquired Symbolab, a synthetic intelligence-powered calculator that helps college students reply and perceive complicated math questions.
The worth of the deal was undisclosed. The 9-person Symbolab workforce, based mostly in Tel Aviv, will be a part of Course Hero . The platforms will dwell below impartial branding for the close to future, based on Andrew Grauer, CEO of Course Hero.
Based in 2011, Symbolab is a complicated calculator and query solver that’s on observe to reply 1 billion questions this 12 months, Grauer says. The service has a deep give attention to college-level math, and solves complicated geometry issues with explanations and proofs.
Course Hero is a query and reply platform at its core. The addition of a calculator and firm that holds a data-set on probably the most requested arithmetic questions might give Course Hero a much bigger edge on its math providers, which the corporate says is one in every of its hottest topics amongst its present college students. The service shall be supplied to Course Hero subscribers as a deal-sweetener.
The mannequin of utilizing a computational engine to provide options to caught college students is pretty widespread. In a distant education phrase, flexibility is essential for college students who may be misplaced of their lessons. Whereas academics and tutors may solely be accessible for a specific amount of hours, a expertise service powered by AI might show to be a 24/7 answer that college students can depend on — and pay for.
Symbolab feels much like Wolfram Alpha, a well-liked computational engine. Whereas Grauer says that Wolfram Alpha is a “powerful tool” he thinks that Symbolab does a greater job on depth and explanations. Massive corporations have added comparable providers too, equivalent to Google, which acquired homework helper app Socratic in 2019, and Microsoft, which constructed Microsoft Solver in the identical 12 months.
Grauer needed to resolve between constructing or shopping for. The founder finally determined to amass the expertise as a result of the true success of synthetic intelligence solely comes if a platform is ready to compound knowledge over time. Symbolab was based practically a decade in the past, and back-end info is efficacious. Grauer says he’s excited to strategy the solver drawback in another way than Google and Microsoft.
“You can’t just [do this] in a short amount of time,” he mentioned. “You’re looking for how do we get the right, accurate answer. But then, how am I going to get, not just accurate, but step by step solutions that are actually helpful.”
Consolidation stays uncommon within the sector that has traditionally been underfunded. Edtech acquisitions have been growing steadily however slowly. In 2018, edtech had lower than 40 acquisitions. In that very same 12 months, fintech had 193 acquisitions, based on Crunchbase.
Nonetheless, amid edtech’s bigger increase, this acquisition makes a very good quantity of sense. Course Hero not too long ago raised its largest tranche of cash but, handed $100 million in annual run income, and have become worthwhile. Thus, the corporate probably had cash within the financial institution to afford the deal. In 2012, Course Hero bought InstaEdu, an on-demand video platform.
Grauer says that he expects Course Hero to make extra acquisitions throughout a wide range of topic areas sooner or later. In edtech extra broadly, he thinks that the following 5 to 10 years may have extra acquisitions.
“If you look back 15 years, there just weren’t that many education technology businesses,” Grauer mentioned. “Now, I think there’s enough of them that potentially have this scale, and both have metrics on the distribution side technology and built out product market fit during the expansion phase.”