Innovation That Matters

The Qanda app has built a massive following among Korean students | Photo source Mathpresso

Edtech app lets students upload maths problems through their phone


Google has recently invested in a Korean edtech startup that uses AI to help students with their maths homework

Spotted: South Korean edtech startup Mathpresso has been growing rapidly. Now, the company has announced that it has added Google as a new investor.

Mathpresso was founded in 2015 and operates a mobile app called Qanda (as in ‘Q and A’) that allows users to take photos of their maths problems. The app’s AI then uses optical character recognition technology to search for answers in texts. Around two-thirds of all Korean students are said to use the app, and the company claims there are more than 12 million active users in 50 countries, with 10 million photos uploaded every day.

During lockdown, the number of Qanda users quintupled, as students without easy access to teachers sought more maths help. The app doesn’t just provide answers, it also provides general methods for working out the answer. The company also has plans to develop algorithms that can recommend similar questions to those students are stuck on, to help them practice.

Mathpresso has opened in-person study centres in Vietnam and has plans for additional centres in Korea. These are used, in part at least, for research and development. Mathpresso cofounder and co-CEO Ray Lee, predicts that this hybrid approach, which combines online and offline learning is the future of tutoring. “The education sector is just one of those sectors that doesn’t allow for a lot of transformation”, he says. “It is a bit traditional and conservative, and it’s probably going to be a while until it transitions into more AI or tech-based”.

In the recent past, Springwise has cover the use of AI to disrupt fields such as carbon accounting, logistics and even sleep. In fact, there is hardly a field that is not being transformed by the use of AI, and education is just the latest. With the global tutoring market expected by some to reach a value of $200 billion by 2026, Google is clearly betting that Mathpresso is on to something big. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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