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Edtech startup Upkey raises $2.6 million, launches career-readiness platform to connect diverse Gen Z and Millennial talent with leading companies

/PRNewswire/ — Upkey, a Chicago startup that offers students free online career readiness tools, today announced it has closed $2.6 million in seed funding…



CHICAGO, Feb. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Upkey, a Chicago startup that offers students free online career readiness tools, today announced it has closed $2.6 million in seed funding and signed Purdue University, Southern New Hampshire University and The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian Life) as customers of its platform that helps transform students into confident professionals.

Upkey’s dashboard provides custom-tailored career development tools for students.

S3 Ventures led the seed round funding, joined by Tensility Venture Partners, Bronze Valley, Lofty Ventures and other angel investors, including Steve Schaffer, the founder of The funds will be used to grow and scale Upkey’s operations to serve more students and give companies access to a bigger pipeline of diverse talent. As part of this expansion, Upkey plans to open a second office in Austin, Texas.

“There has never been an effective and remote professional development service focused on assisting students from underrepresented communities and schools. The product’s viral growth in such a short time has highlighted a significant gap in the market. We are excited to partner with Upkey to fuel their next stage of growth,” said Charlie Plauche, partner at S3 Ventures, who will join Upkey’s board of directors.

Similar to driving to an unfamiliar destination, working towards career goals can be confusing and stressful without directions.

Upkey offers an arsenal of free professional development navigation tools that provide students ranging from high-school to university level with individualized, self-paced support. These tools include everything from resume-building, pitch development and interview prep, to virtual classes and internships at leading universities and companies—resources that until now have only been available to students in elite educational institutions.

Starting today, these tools also include Upkey’s newly launched Dashboard, a customized career map tailored to students’ individual needs and goals. The Dashboard features interactive, gamified modules that allow students to earn ranks and badges, providing support and encouragement along the way.

Currently, 70% of Upkey users are minority and first-generation students. According to recent surveys, 96% of those who completed one of Upkey’s professional development tracks said they felt more confident pursuing their career goals.

In recognition of its success to date, Upkey was recently named a LinkedIn Top Startup for 2020, highlighting 50 U.S. companies on the rise.

“As is the case with many university career centers, we find value in offering students smart technology platforms in support of their job search efforts,” said Timothy B. Luzader, Executive Director of Career Success and Director of Center for Career Opportunities at Purdue University. “We’re especially excited about the Upkey product. Upkey is a particularly great fit for freshmen and other students who have never before created a resume. The hands-on elevator pitch feature also resonates well with students. In our efforts to more effectively serve first-gen and low income students, Upkey is a phenomenal partner and offers a multi-use platform to address these needs.”

In addition to its student-facing benefits, Upkey’s tools and approach also allow enterprises to invest in their future workforce through multiple touchpoints and build a diverse pipeline of polished candidates. One example is Upkey’s virtual summer internship program (VIP), an 8-week “master class” where students work with professionals in various areas to complete projects for college credits. Upkey has already received interest from students in more than 70 countries.

“Upkey allows students to consider various career options and provides businesses with a new avenue to engage, connect and select future talent,” said Caitlin Pemble, director of Agency Growth and Development at Guardian Life. “Working with Upkey reinforces our commitment to investing in the future workforce, diversity and developing the next generation of accomplished professionals.”

“Over the past year, nearly 100,000 students have benefited from Upkey career preparation tools,” said Amir Badr, founder and CEO of Upkey. “Our mission is to level the playing field so that every student has the opportunity for support and training to reach their goals while giving organizations access to qualified candidates ready to take on new and varied challenges.”

To learn more about Upkey and its services, visit

About Upkey
Upkey provides free online educational resources to students ranging from high-school to university level. Through gamified modules, the company focuses on making professional growth, fun, easy and accessible to everyone. The goal of Upkey is to create equal opportunities across the board, and provide underrepresented students the tools needed to be successful in their career path. Those interested in learning more can visit

About S3 Ventures
S3 Ventures is one of the largest venture capital firms based in Texas. Backed by a philanthropic, multi-billion-dollar family for over fourteen years, we empower great entrepreneurs with the commitment to patient capital and true resources required to grow extraordinary, high-impact companies in Business Technology, Consumer Digital Experiences, and Healthcare Technology. Please visit us at to learn more.

Media Contact:
Mary Kate Welch
Upkey, Inc.
[email protected]


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Upkey offers an arsenal of free professional development navigation tools that provide students ranging from high-school to university level with individualized, self-paced support. These tools include everything from resume-building, pitch development and interview prep, to virtual classes and internships at leading universities and companies—resources that until now have only been available to students in elite educational institutions.



Juni Learning Named Best Tutoring Solution in 2021 EdTech Breakthrough Awards

Juni Learning Named Best Tutoring Solution in 2021 EdTech Breakthrough Awards



[June 09, 2021]

Juni Learning, provider of 1:1 private learning experiences that connect kids with top university instructors, today announced that EdTech Breakthrough, a leading market intelligence organization that recognizes the top companies and solutions in the global educational technology market, has named Juni as the winner of its “Best Tutoring Solution” award in the third annual EdTech Breakthrough Awards program.

Juni was selected based on its unique online learning environment, which has been refined over the past four years. Juni offers a fundamentally different, project-based experience that empowers kids to learn in new and engaging ways. On the Juni platform, students can cover the most basic concepts through advanced computer programming languages like Scratch, Python, and Java.

Over the past year, Juni has expanded beyond coding with proprietary curriculums that include courses in reading, creative writing and grammar as well as all levels of math. Courses have been designed with the most rigorous Common Core and state standards in mind in order to supplement, enhance and reinforce the skills taught in schools across the country. Using these standards as the starting point, Juni develops additional pathways to further build students’ understanding and discovery. Its curriculums provide a clear roadmap for trackable progress and built-in mechanisms to ensure concepts are mastered before moving forward.

Juni stands out in part because all of its instructors are hand-picked from the top universities in the country. The company matches instructors with students by asking parents several qualifying, personalized questions to ensure that instructors know more about their interests and kids have a great experience. Additionally, Juni instructors are trained in its curriculum delivery so that thereis no guesswork. As a result, instructors are free to focus 100% of their attention on teaching, meeting students at their ability level and fully engaging kids to make learning exciting.

“Based on our own experiences, which were defined by the important role mentors and teaching assistants played in helping us thrive, we devised a unique path to student success that teaches kids to start early and learn by doing,” said Vivian Shen, co-founder and CEO of Juni Learning. “Connected to credible, near-peer instructors who also act as mentors, Juni’s students develop the creativity, confidence and grit required to become tomorrow’s leaders. We are thrilled to win this award from EdTech Breakthrough and will use it as further inspiration on the road to provide kids meaningful learning experiences.”

The mission of the EdTech Breakthrough Awards is to honor excellence and recognize the innovation, hard work and success in a range of educational technology categories, including Student Engagement, School Administration, Adaptive Learning, STEM Education, e-Learning, Career Preparation and many more. This year’s program attracted more than 2,000 nominations from over 17 different countries throughout the world.

“Effective distance learning is part of the Juni’s DNA, which has been proven by the success of thousands of students nationwide, and this approach has been invaluable throughout the pandemic. There was no adjustment period, no panic, nothing to work out in terms of shifting from in-person to online,” said James Johnson, managing director, EdTech Breakthrough. “Juni simply works. Congratulations to the entire team at Juni Learning on winning Best Tutoring Solution in our 2021 EdTech Breakthrough Awards program.”

About Juni Learning

Juni is a membership-driven online learning platform designed to help students ages 7-18 discover and pursue their passions with joy. The company offers award-winning curriculums, teaching the skills that matter, in subjects like Computer Science, Math, and English, with 1:1 instruction from near-peer instructors enrolled at the top colleges and universities. Juni also provides opportunities for students to explore their interests beyond the classroom in student-driven Clubs. Through project-centered courses, best-in-class technology and the power of community, Juni’s varied learning experiences prepare students for their best future, creating the leaders of tomorrow. The company works with thousands of students around the world and is backed by top leaders in technology including Arielle Zuckerberg, Y Combinator Co-founder Jessica Livingston, AME Cloud Ventures, led by Yahoo Founder Jerry Yang (NewsAlert), Forerunner Ventures, Index Ventures, Pear VC, and LDV Partners.

Juni is headquartered in San Francisco. To learn more, please visit

About EdTech Breakthrough

Part of Tech Breakthrough, a leading market intelligence and recognition platform for global technology innovation and leadership, the EdTech Breakthrough Awards program is devoted to honoring excellence in educational technology products, companies and people. The EdTech Breakthrough Awards provide a platform for public recognition around the achievements of breakthrough educational technology in categories including e-learning, student engagement, school administration, career preparation, language learning, STEM and more. For more information, visit

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Global EdTech Market Size 2021, Growth Trends, Revenue, Business Strategy,

New Report on “2021 Market Research Report on Global EdTech Industry” added to store – This report studies all the characteristic of the present and forthcoming industry growth information which is climacteric for all new participants well as the leading market participantDallas, May 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In…



New Report on “2021 Market Research Report on Global EdTech Industry” added to store – This report studies all the characteristic of the present and forthcoming industry growth information which is climacteric for all new participants well as the leading market participant

Dallas, May 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In the last decade, the education sector has undergone significant changes and is now facing significant method changes in the distribution of its goods and services. Technological advances and developments are altering the retail landscape and raising the need for low-cost, high-quality customer support. To allow better action plans, greater responsiveness to consumer needs, increased product design and efficiency, and quicker response times, technical advances in educational processes and data are becoming increasingly important. The provision of basic digital connectivity is a core catalyst for education technologies, and it will boost demand growth opportunities over the projected era. The provision of a vital system that provides logistical assistance to staff and students is critical to the effective introduction of online learning and teaching at all levels of institutions.

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By Company
Civitas Learning
Dreambox Learning
Guild Education
Age of Learning

Furthermore, research universities all over the world offer off-campus programme permits, course and research materials libraries, and online course catalogs. This has led to the greater adoption of new ways of learning, boosting the education technology industry even further. Digital media has the potential to expand educational opportunities. eBooks, which can be downloaded electronically from anywhere in the world, are becoming highly popular among students. Digital advertising is less expensive to produce than paper content, which has higher processing costs. Likewise, interactive books come in a variety of languages and can be quickly translated and retrieved by a larger audience. Learners should also listen to the instructional material in an audio format to enhance their vocabulary and promote better interpretive reading, particularly for those with physical disabilities.

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Segment by Type

Segment by Application
Higher Education

By Region
North America
United States
Rest of Europe
South Korea
Southeast Asia
Rest of Asia
Latin America
Rest of Latin America
Middle East & Africa
Saudi Arabia
Rest of MEA

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Chapter One: Report Overview
1.1 Study Scope
1.2 Market Analysis by Type
1.2.1 Global EdTech Market Size Growth Rate by Type: 2016 VS 202Chapter One: VS 2027
1.2.2 Hardware
1.2.3 Software
1.2.4 Content
1.3 Market by Application
1.3.1 Global EdTech Market Share by Application: 2016 VS 202Chapter One: VS 2027
1.3.2 Preschool
1.3.3 K-12
1.3.4 Higher Education
1.3.5 Others
1.4 Study Objectives
1.5 Years Considered

Chapter Two: Global Growth Trends
2.1 Global EdTech Market Perspective (2016-2027)
2.2 EdTech Growth Trends by Regions
2.2.1 EdTech Market Size by Regions: 2016 VS 202Chapter One: VS 2027
2.2.2 EdTech Historic Market Share by Regions (2016-2021)
2.2.3 EdTech Forecasted Market Size by Regions (2022-2027)
2.3 EdTech Industry Dynamic
2.3.1 EdTech Market Trends
2.3.2 EdTech Market Drivers
2.3.3 EdTech Market Challenges
2.3.4 EdTech Market Restraints

Chapter Three: Competition Landscape by Key Players
3.1 Global Top EdTech Players by Revenue
3.1.1 Global Top EdTech Players by Revenue (2016-2021)
3.1.2 Global EdTech Revenue Market Share by Players (2016-2021)
3.2 Global EdTech Market Share by Company Type (Tier 1, Tier Chapter Two: and Tier 3)
3.3 Players Covered: Ranking by EdTech Revenue
3.4 Global EdTech Market Concentration Ratio
3.4.1 Global EdTech Market Concentration Ratio (CRChapter Five: and HHI)
3.4.2 Global Top Chapter Ten: and Top 5 Companies by EdTech Revenue in 2020
3.5 EdTech Key Players Head office and Area Served
3.6 Key Players EdTech Product Solution and Service
3.7 Date of Enter into EdTech Market
3.8 Mergers & Acquisitions, Expansion Plans

Chapter Four: EdTech Breakdown Data by Type
4.1 Global EdTech Historic Market Size by Type (2016-2021)
4.2 Global EdTech Forecasted Market Size by Type (2022-2027)

Chapter Five: EdTech Breakdown Data by Application
5.1 Global EdTech Historic Market Size by Application (2016-2021)
5.2 Global EdTech Forecasted Market Size by Application (2022-2027)

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The leaders of EdTech convene to discuss the future of education in India|

The Education sector witnessed a significant disruption with the onset of the pandemic. The industry that traditionally operates through physical classrooms,



The Education sector witnessed a significant disruption with the onset of the pandemic. The industry that traditionally operates through physical classrooms, pen and paper, leapt suddenly and entirely onto the online space. EdTech is now indispensable, and learners took to their desktop screens and smartphones for their education.

Several EdTech providers then rushed to meet its demand-supply economics. As a result, scalability became a significant indicator of how well an EdTech company functions. Most of the pertinent questions that the EdTechs need to answer revolve around the success mantra, customer acquisition, and export opportunities.

At the ‘Education Next: Tech Led Revolution In Education‘, a summit presented by CNBC-TV18 & Google and supported by Startup India, a host of industry leaders convened to discuss the future of education and shared their learnings and insight.

Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager and Vice President of Google India, said that 1 million education-related searches happen on the search engine from India daily. This indicates that technology is slowly bridging the gap between education and accessibility, with a smartphone present in almost every household. “Google streamlines education through its info hub, teaching from home in English and eight other languages,” he said. “As a result, we have enabled one million teachers in 20,000 schools.”

The success of any EdTech company lies in how well they incorporate their research and analytics to assess the areas that require attention in online education. For instance, Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of BYJU’s, started from a small town and knew exactly how wide the gap was between education and accessibility. Coming from a small town that did not have cutting-edge solutions nurtured a love for learning in him and the drive to create something for all educators and learners. “Till 2015, we operated offline. Today, we have more than 5 million students learning from our paid platforms. It is very important to create a thirst for knowledge,” he said.

Children spending hours confined to their homes last year have thrown open fresh challenges in creating products that keep them engaged. Raveendran agrees that there was a need to figure out the balance between what they want and what is easy for them: “There is no playbook for success. We co-create in a segment where not much has been done before. Keep our focus student-centric as that is the consumer pool you are aiming for.”

Acquisition of interested learners follows immediately, as Google’s pan-India research with Kantar revealed. One in five consumers do their research online and look for reviews on YouTube before signing up for a course. Megha Thareja Tyagi, Director, e-commerce, fintech, conglomerates, education and govt, at Google India and Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice-President of the insights division at Kantar, pointed out that EdTech is the pathway to the democratization of education. “Interest in online learning saw an unprecedented jump and continues to remain at elevated levels,” said Tyagi.

There has been an 85% increase in online courses and 75% in certificate courses on Google. Almost all consumers use a digital channel at least once in their purchase journey. The pandemic has increased learners’ reliance on online channels for research by an average of 10–15%. The key triggers are the search for something new and better career prospects. Parents are always on the lookout to give their school-going children the best online education, which is the first demographic that most EdTech companies target.

Once an EdTech company gets their inputs through a partnership with a leading search engine like Google, the next step is growth. Not all products will work, and existing ones will always need to be improved. The online medium allows large-scale experimentation. For a perfect product fit, watching learners and deducing what they want is very important for an EdTech company.

“Every product goes through its lifecycle, and every EdTech company goes through its evolution. The key is to better a product that does well. Early companies prioritize growth, but at some point, you need to look at profitability,” said Krishna Kumar, founder of Simplilearn.

This brings an EdTech company to a juncture where they need to figure out a North Star vision for the right product. “There is no perfect fit because you must set the bar higher and improve on the existing products that you offer. It is easy to start something in the field of online education but difficult to scale. A referral is the biggest channel for profit. If your existing consumers like your product, they will be your brand ambassadors and get you more customers,” said Mayank Kumar, co-founder and MD of upGrad.

It is not just students who take recourse to online learning but also professionals looking to upskill themselves. Vocational learning and skill-building courses are the best pathways to launch an EdTech company beyond borders and into the international arena.

Ashwin Damera, co-founder and CEO, Eruditus, has seen exponential success in this arena. He has taken his company to international success, and the path, though time-consuming, is not difficult for an EdTech company to go through. The first step towards an international venture is establishing market leadership in one’s native country. “You have to adapt to the global market and take in locals under your wings. There are language and sociological barriers that need to be dealt with, and one cannot succeed in a global market without commitment and planning. You have to accept that you know very little about a new market. Have a local market leader, and they will build a team for you,” he said during his chat with GV Ravishankar, Managing Director at Sequoia India.

The summit saw participation from other experts from EdTech and Google too: Shreyasi Singh, founder and CEO of Harappa Education; Pratik Mehta, Country Head – public sector, Google Cloud; and Anant Swami, Head of Industry, Education & Govt. at Google India. All the experts focused on the key takeaway for EdTech companies that want to scale faster: the system of referrals that come with an online presence. If your existing consumers like your product, they will be your brand ambassadors and get you more customers later.

ALSO READ uLektz Wall of Fame will be honouring “Top 50 Thought Leaders in Higher Education” for the year 2020


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