Reuters: Macmillan Digital Education Invests in Brazilian EdTech Start-ups Veduca and Easyaula

Macmillan Digital Education has made a significant move into the Brazilian EdTech market with investments in two Brazil-based start-ups targeting the adult education sector - Veduca and Easyaula. These investments bolster Digital Education's local presence as a serious "go-to" investor for EdTech entrepreneurs in the Latin American region.

Veduca  is an online video platform that aggregates and curates publicly available educational content from the world's top universities and annotates this content with meta tags and Portuguese subtitles to make it searchable based on key words; thus making it easily accessible to the Brazilian population.

Easyaula is an online educational marketplace that makes it easy for people to learn anything from anyone. This online marketplace taps into existing communities and networks to provide offline classes to aspirational adults, focusing on extra-curriculum and mainly professional subject areas.

As an active early-stage investor in the sector, Macmillan Digital Education targets businesses which complement its ecosystem of services in the online education space and develops e-learning products and services to empower students on their lifelong learning journey. Commenting on the investments, Managing Director of Macmillan Digital Education, Matthias Ick, said today,

"This is a major step in our intention to provide a catalyst for the next phase of our ambitious plans in Brazil and the wider region. Together with Veduca and Easyaula, we will support and enhance the development of technology-driven education in Brazil. Both brands will play an important role in helping us reach our goal to support people in their life-long learning journey."

Veduca democratises access to top-quality education in Brazil by offering free video content from lectures from a wide range of subjects from some of the world's top universities, including MIT, Harvard, Yale & Princeton. Shown in their original English language format, subtitled in Portuguese, students can follow university lectures on a wide variety of subjects. Registering gives the user the ability to leave comments, rate lectures, and create a favourites' playlist. The service also boasts collaborative subtitling - whereby any user can help to translate the content to Portuguese. Intelligent content curation via meta-tag searching of the course content has been the key to Veduca's early success and early reputation as a market leader in Brazil.

Veduca founder and CEO Carlos Souza said today:

"We're proud to join Macmillan Digital Education and be a part of continuing Macmillan's tradition of delivering the highest quality learning experience in Brazil."

Easyaula believes that learning is a continuous lifelong journey, and that the current education system does not give students all the tools they need in order to learn the skills they must use in our ever-changing world. Easyaula's purpose is to transform the way people find, consume and teach educational content through a platform that organizes informal learning and improves traditional learning by connecting teachers and students directly, allowing students to learn the subjects they need to excel in their professional and personal lives while creating highly paid, successful professors. The platform will be further developed to provide a broad range of high quality classes and a range of learning analytics via an online platform.

Diego Alvarez, CEO and founder of Easyaula, said today,

"It is a great privilege to partner with a company which shares our long term vision and belief in the future of adult education in Brazil."

Macmillan has a long and rich history of commitment to the teaching of English at all levels and has been active in Brazil since 1994. It gives special attention to producing teaching materials that reflect the cultural conditions and country specific curriculum, providing teachers, students and educational institutions a wide range of high-quality tailor-made materials in print and electronic format. The rapid improvement of the nation's English language teaching is a priority for both government and industry as Brazil seeks to benefit from the economic and cultural benefits that will be afforded to it by for the forthcoming 2016 Olympic Games. Macmillan Digital Education's investments are part of a broader initiative to investment in start-up businesses within Macmillan's Science & Education division.

Under its CEO Annette Thomas's direction, the division has invested in three technology-led start-up businesses over the past two years: Macmillan Digital Education, which invests into and builds consumer-focused educational services, Digital Science, which specialises in providing software solutions for scientists and Macmillan New Ventures, which discovers and develops innovative and proven technologies for educational development. Macmillan's more established businesses - Macmillan Education, Macmillan Palgrave, Nature Publishing Group and Macmillan Higher Education - have all built strong brands and an enviable track record for editorial excellence by taking a content-led, technology enabled approach. It is the fusion of the new disruptive technology start-up businesses with the editorially-rich established players that enables Macmillan to evolve its overall business and fuel quicker access to new markets and new opportunities.

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