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COVID-19 continues to spark growth for Edmonton education tech firm

Showbie looks to scale hybrid learning – raises $5 million in a Series A round led by Vancouver-based Rhino ventures.

There are not a lot of businesses right now that would say that the pandemic helped to shift the market in their favour, but that is exactly what has continued to happen for Edmonton region EdTech firm Showbie. Since the global shift to online classrooms it has become apparent that there is a real need for digital tools that improve student and teacher engagement for online learning. This shift has created massive potential in the EdTech space.

“The massive change in education due to COVID-19 and the global market reaction to use digital tools was a rallying cry for us that we had to help – with Rhino’s support, we will be able to make a positive impact on student success during this period and beyond,” said Colin Bramm, co-founder and CEO of Showbie.

Lucky for Colin and the Showbie team, they have the experience and connections to be global players.

“Central to every investment is our conviction that we are backing the winning team in a market that has a venture scale problem,” said Jay Rhind, partner at Rhino Ventures. “Colin and the Showbie team are pioneers of hybrid learning environments in a time when educators and students alike need its solution”.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more than 3 million teachers in 136 countries found the Showbie products invaluable in their shift to online learning. Since then this Edmonton-based tech company continues to expand its reach.  

Over the summer Showbie has accomplished a number of other milestones worth mentioning including:

  • Hiring a new VP of Learning, Adul Chohan
  • Introducing the Showbie Pro Plus package
  • Launching video chat function, along with a number of other tools to its enhanced features

“We are always looking for ways to improve the tools that educators can use in the classroom,” says Colin. “We really consider the relationships that develop between a teacher and their students, which can be undermined on an online platform. Our product allows teachers to give rich feedback to their students and this leads to better engagement and communication.”

Colin Bramm, Showbie co-founder and CEO

According to Allan Gauld, who was working as an account executive with Apple in 2012, promoting Apple products to schools in Alberta when he first met Colin, the Showbie team have always been thinking one step ahead.

“In those early days, some people had a hard time understanding where the iPad would fit into a classroom and were even unsure if the product would be successful,” said Allan. “The ability of Colin to be forward thinking enough to recognize the potential that these technologies had for learners, to see where the gaps existed, and to create solutions to address these gaps really demonstrates how the Showbie team has always been forward-thinking.”

This forward-thinking continues to serve Showbie well as they look to continue to scale their business even further.

As for Allan, he’s continued to keep an eye on what Colin and his team are doing as they’ve scaled their business and expanded their network to include a global community in the education space. 

“They’ve come a long way from where they started in 2012,” said Allan. “But I firmly believe that for Colin, the best is yet to come. He has the ability to build meaningful connections with people who share his vision and he’s successfully leveraged those relationships to build advocates for his product all over the globe.”

EdTech is an industry that has seen significant growth during the pandemic. According to a recent Crunchbase report, global venture funding for EdTech companies reached $4.1 billion between January and July 2020. That’s $1.5 billion more than was raised during the same period in 2019, and the highest amount raised in that time frame for the past five years.

You can read more about Showbie here.

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