As the Coronavirus pandemic rages on, it leaves behind trails of destruction; especially when it comes to healthcare and economy. But the global education sector has also been severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. According to the UN, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced school closures in 191 countries, affecting at least 1.5 billion students and 63 million primary and secondary teachers. Parents, teachers, and students are all struggling to cope with homeschooling, as the industry was not equipped with the necessary digital infrastructure and the curriculum was not digital-ready. This is where edtech startups such as Squla can come into play; its parent company Futurewhiz just acquired its German counterpart Scoyo.
Assignments and acquisitions
Amsterdam-based Squla is an online learning platform that offers interactive educational tools for primary school pupils in the Netherlands and Poland. It is a subsidiary of Dutch-based online education company Futurewhiz, which is also the parent company of WRTS.
WRTS is an online learning platform for secondary school students, enabling them to study words in different ways and test their knowledge with spelling or dictation.
With the acquisition of Scoyo, Squla claims it will have access to 7 million primary and secondary school students in Germany. According to the company, Scoyo will continue to operate under its existing name and will add local educational content to the Squla platform for mobile devices and the web, for use at home and school.
According to Squla, Scoyo is one of the three leading educational platforms in German for pupils from groups 1 to 7. It offers quizzes, videos, tests, and customised educational games for different school types, school levels, and curriculums in the 16 federal states of Germany.
Talking about the acquisition, Serge Bueters, CEO of Futurewhiz, says, “By integrating Scoyo, we are now able to offer our products not only to children in the Netherlands and Poland but also to primary and secondary school students in a major market such as Germany. This enables us to support seven million more children and help them to make real progress”.
“Due to the corona crisis, there is also a growing awareness in Germany that it is crucial to make the transition to digital education. Considering the growing need for tailormade education due to overcrowded classrooms and the shortage of teachers, we have decided to take-over Scoyo”, says Bueters.
Notes on Squla
Founded in 2010 by André Haardt, in the Netherlands, Squla is currently used by over 180,000 children from their homes and more than 600,000 primary school students use its tools at school. It’s a portfolio company of international investment firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP). At present, Futurewhiz employs nearly 70 people and is currently hiring. The company’s open positions can be accessed here.
Squla offers an app and a web environment along with an overview of learning efficiency for parents and teachers, with the latter having access to a dedicated online platform. Scoyo – just like Squla in the Netherlands – is free to use in the classroom. For home use, parents pay a fixed amount per month for their school-aged children. The insights and feedback are shared with the parents and teachers via a dashboard/report.
The pandemic impact
Talking about the impact of the pandemic on Squla’s business, Bueters tells Silicon Canals, “During the pandemic, homeschooling became a big thing. All teachers and parents were looking for study materials that could be used. Squla was used massively in those months. So from a revenue perspective, we did not have any issues.”
According to him, some of the main challenges faced by the company during COVID times were expanding its product on all sites, as well as the bandwidth on the servers, enhancing the content volume to support the extra hours of homeschooling, and initiating fun and motivational learning campaigns for kids to boost their positivity as they remain cooped up at their homes during this difficult time.
The company also recently set up its own own radio station called Futurewhiz FM at its office. “While we are still partly working from home and missing the office vibes, we will broadcast a bi-weekly show, with funky music, office info, radio quizzes, and so on. Everything the folks of WRTS or Squla want to hear, wherever they are,” shares Tijntje Louwers, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Squla/WRTS.
Adding tech to education
Squla competes with other edtech startups such as Bright Little Labs, Drops, and Kahoot!. Bueters believes that the fact that Squla is based on the local curriculum, has web and app presence, offers accessibility at school and home for teachers, parents, and kids, caters to all grades and subjects, and offers adaptive content for each level and pace, sets it apart from its competitors.
According to the Promethean State of Technology in Education Report 2019/20, which surveyed over 2,000 educators from around the UK and Ireland, 89.6% of the educators believe using tech is a great way to engage students in the classroom (up from 31.8% in 2017/18).
Another study by HolonIQ suggests that the education sector is also grossly under digitised, with less than 3% of global education expenditure being allocated to digital. The study also predicts that education is a $6T (€5.08T) industry and is poised to grow to $10T (€8.46T)by 2030. These are clear indications that the education sector is a thriving industry that desperately needs a digital transformation. The industry, therefore, needs edtech startups such as Squla to usher in the digital age of education.
Image credits: Squla