Creating and grading tests is one of the most time-consuming tasks that teachers face. In Vietnam, a startup called Azota wants to help with an online software platform that not only helps teachers develop and supervise tests, but also automatically grades them based on information from Vietnamese teaching materials. The company announced today that it has raised $2.4 million in pre-Series A financing led by GGV Capital, with participation from Nextrans and recurring investor Do Ventures.
Founded last year, Azota now has 700,000 teachers and 10 million primary, secondary and secondary school users among its users. It says it serves more than six million users per month during peak testing periods, or about 30% of the total number of teachers and students in Vietnam. It claims that it can shorten the review process from two hours when done manually to just two minutes.
The creation of Azota came in the midst of the pandemic in 2021. Before co-founding the startup, Au Nguyen, the CEO, worked for Viettel, one of the largest telecom companies in Vietnam. He led a teaching unit on school management solutions, but realized that teachers had many pain points that his team could not solve. As a result, he decided to team up with his friends, Dai Nguyen and Hung Le, to create Azota.
“As the team sees it, there are two main areas of work for educators: teaching and assigning and grading tests,” they told londonbusinessblog.com in an email. “During the COVID times, education had to go online and there were plenty of tools to support this change such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, etc. But when it comes to online assignment and assessment, few tools were available, that made the process very labor-intensive and time-consuming.”
Azota built an optical character recognition app to automatically recognize Q&As from test images taken from teachers’ phones. It shuffles those questions and answers to create hundreds of custom test combinations. Because the OCR is built with Vietnamese teaching materials, the team said it can recognize Vietnamese tests with 99% accuracy.
The founders of Azota are also working on more advanced question bank features that will allow teachers to pick and choose from the inventory to take exams from scratch.
The startup is used by educators across the country, with about 22% coming from the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with the rest evenly distributed across all provinces in Vietnam, she added.
The team identifies two main groups of competitors. The former are large companies that provide learning management software (LMS) to schools, but they say it is still a fragmented market in Vietnam with several companies dominating different regions.
The second is startups that provide tools for teachers, but Azota’s founders say that the teaching resources segment is still early and Azota differentiates itself by adopting a product-driven growth model, solving the key challenges faced by teachers as they grow, especially for assigning and assessing, rather than trying to address every problem that arises.
In a prepared statement, GGV Capital global managing partner Jixun Foo said: “By using technology to empower teachers to teach better, Azota is making great education accessible to millions of students. They can unleash the true potential of teachers to empower the next generation. to take care of Vietnamese youth.”