Melbourne edutech startup Verso raises $2 million to fuel US expansion

Verso team members

The Verso team. Source: Supplied

Melbourne-based edutech startup Verso has raised $2 million dollars in a Series A round led by Ken Lowe, co-founder of Canberra Data Centres.

The startup, which utilises an app to assist teachers in the classroom and with their own professional development, intends to use these funds for a US expansion.

Colin Wood launched Verso in 2014 out of his previous company Learnology, and plans to use the funding to capitalise on Verso’s current foothold in California, Texas, South Carolina and New Jersey.

“We’re really ramping up what we’re doing in the US — it’s been very much organically grown [so far],” Wood tells StartupSmart.

“We want to double down on that and get some full time resources and grow our team on that side of the pacific,” he says.

Verso is available on the App Store and currently has 40,000 teachers across 12,000 schools in more than 100 countries using the platform.

“The great thing about education is that the social networks among teachers are very strong,” Wood says.

“We’re now used in just about every language”.

Verso initially started off with approximately $200,000 in innovation funding from the Victorian Government in late 2015, which saw the startup undertake an 18-month project with the Victorian Education Department.

Since then, the platform has been used in Victoria and New South Wales, where it was recently awarded NESA accreditation by the New South Wales Department of Education, enabling teachers to use Verso as part of their professional learning requirements. Despite this, Wood admits the startup’s presence in Australia has been fairly low-profile. 

“We’ve flown under the radar in Australia …we always joke our day starts at Tullamarine,” Wood says, referencing his team’s regular trips to the US from Melbourne’s airport.  

With this new funding, however, Wood plans to “ramp up the conversations” Verso has been having in Australia, by capitalising on the debate around education reform and teacher effectiveness sparked by the federal government’s Gonski 2.0 schools funding package. 

Edutech and learning reform is “becoming a very pertinent conversation” in Australia, says Wood.

“Verso has always been closely aligned with supporting teachers to teach at their best every lesson,” Wood says. 

“We’re looking at the science behind teaching, and how we can best support teachers in the classroom to implement the best strategies that we know have the highest impact.”

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