EduSpaze, Singapore’s first educational technology (edtech) accelerator, has announced a partnership with Latin Leap, a Colombia-based venture capital studio. This partnership seeks to drive soft-landing initiatives of Asian EdTech scale-ups to Latin America through the sharing of know-how and company deal flow, and strengthen collaboration between the two regions within the field of education.
EduSpaze is managed by seed capital firm and startup incubator, Spaze Ventures, and supported by Enterprise Singapore, the enterprise development agency. EduSpaze aims to nurture a vibrant EdTech startup ecosystem that serves the education sector in Singapore and Southeast Asia by supporting early-stage EdTech startups go to market, accelerate their growth and co-innovate with other education stakeholders. The accelerator supports companies that address sector-specific challenges within the education industry with innovative solutions to improve learning outcomes as well as the impact of education. They provide a unique accelerator programme, up to S$500,000 funding, mentor support, and an environment for pilot project implementations in the region.
From Singapore to Latin America
In the global education field, Singapore has consistently sustained top rankings and is recognized to have one of the best education systems in the world. Singapore has repeatedly been placed among the top 5 OECD countries in terms of educational outcomes under the Programme for International Student Survey (PISA). In 2016, Singapore was ranked first by PISA within the subjects of math and science. In January 2020, Singaporeans made up half of the perfect scorers in the International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations across the world.
In contrast, Latin America continues to lag behind in terms of educational outcomes and hosts some of the world’s weakest education systems. 50 per cent of students in this region do not reach the basic PISA proficiency levels and are on average 3 years behind the OECD average in components such as reading, math, and science. Latin Americans are also extremely vulnerable to falling through the cracks, with 22.2 million children and adolescents not attending school and are at risk of dropping out each year. In light of these concerning statistics, there is a dire need for innovative EdTech solutions to strengthen the local system and ensure that these Latin American children and adolescents are able to access quality education.
“One of the most crucial challenges that Latin America faces today is the lack of access to quality education. The region has one of the world’s weakest education systems and grapples with high levels of inequality. In times of unprecedented change, when the next 100 years will see the equivalent of 20,000 years of progress, Latin America´s usual strategy of catching up is not sustainable and faces the threat of becoming irrelevant. The only way is to anticipate and leapfrog the region. Innovative EdTech solutions from Asia can help the region close this gap and enhance access to quality education for all,” said Laura Gomez, General Partner of Latin Leap EdTech.
Latin Leap, a newly formed Venture Capital Studio founded by Latin America-based entrepreneur and investor, Stefan Krautwald, was established to create a unique impact investment platform to soft-land purpose-driven tech companies in Latin America. They are focused on opening up opportunities in Latin America for Asian tech-scale ups and aims to become a key pillar supporting the globalization of Southeast Asia’s EdTech sector. By offering preferred access to corporate partnerships and experienced venture partners who serve as gatekeepers of the Latin American market, Latin Leap aims to help these EdTech companies establish a unique geographical footprint in the Latin American region.
“Both EduSpaze and Latin Leap are aligned in investing our resources in purpose-driven companies that can create a strong educational impact. EduSpaze will help identify pedagogically-driven Southeast Asian EdTechs with a proven market fit and is able to similarly implement needs-based solutions that can drive effective and meaningful education for Latin Americans. As such, we are very excited about this partnership with Latin Leap. The valuable lessons learnt by EdTechs scaling in Southeast Asia here can be applicable to Latin America. Latin Leap would thereby provide the much needed access and network for the startups to capture new opportunities, internationalize and build a stronger global EdTech innovation ecosystem.”, said Alex Ng, Managing Director of EduSpaze.
Currently, EduSpaze’s two cohorts comprise 15 edtechs that slot into the categories of K-12, higher education, and corporate learning. Their portfolio companies leverage a wide range of technologies to ensure effective learning including artificial intelligence (A.I.), augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) as well as 3D technology. This partnership with Latin Leap would provide strategic and commercial support to Asian edtech scale-ups ready to further capitalize on their global growth momentum, and help drive deeper cooperation between the Latin American and Asian tech ecosystems.