Augmenting Brazil's Educators with AI: Why We Invested in Teachy

Roble Ventures
September 7, 2023
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Imagine if teachers had the computing power of the world's leading technology firms in their classrooms.

Imagine if those teachers could then cut up to 80% of the time it takes to prepare for classes so they could focus on more individualized student attention.

Now imagine if this teaching tool was available to every teacher in Latin America at an affordable cost.

Meet Teachy, a new teaching tool that leverages the power of Generative AI to help teachers automate specific tasks in the classroom. In Brazil and various parts of Latin America, research by the OECD shows that teachers spend an average of 20 hours a week preparing for the classroom, including creating lesson plans, coming up with exercises, and evaluating student performance—all unpaid.

Teachy's vision is to bring a suite of technological tools that help teachers be more effective, reduce time preparation, and augment their capabilities. Built by a strong technical team, Teachy wants to leverage new technologies in AI, large language models (LLM), and natural language processing (NLP) to provide teachers with tools to help them be more effective, inside and outside of the classroom.

We first met Pedro Siciliano, CEO and Founder of Teachy, as a first-year MBA student at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. His passion for solving Brazil and Latin America's widespread teacher burnout issue was apparent in our first conversation with him. We believe his commitment to solving this issue, his professional experiences, and his partnership with his CTO, Fábio Baldissera, will pave the way for a new generation of tech tools empowering teachers to improve educational outcomes for Latin American students.

Why We Invested in Teachy

1. Led by a team we believe in.

As early-stage investors, team is everything for us. Pedro graduated top of his class as a mechanical engineer from the Instituto Militar de Engenharia, one of the top engineering schools in Brazil. He received valuable experience working at Descomplica, one of Brazil's (and Latin America's) most successful edtech startups, helping to prepare students for college entrance exams. Descomplica has had incredible scale, impacting millions of students and raising more than $130 million working out of Rio de Janeiro. Pedro also had experience working on strategic advisory at McKinsey, where he helped carry out projects advising C-level Fortune 500 clients on strategy and reaching business milestones.

We knew Pedro was truly committed when he joked about his willingness to drop out of Stanford to see his vision of making teachers’ lives easier come to fruition. His combination of experience and drive gave us the conviction that he and his co-founder/CTO Fábio Baldissera could scale a business while bringing innovation to improve learning outcomes, beginning in Brazil.

Fábio himself has a strong background in Machine Learning (ML), computer vision, and scaling high-growth startups. Fábio previously worked for a Y-Combinator-backed company leveraging AI to augment dentists' abilities to help their patients. He knows how to engineer products to solve real pain points and empower professionals to better serve their clients. After living for some time in Singapore leading ML teams, Fábio was determined to join Pedro and make an impact in his home country through one of the highest needs areas: education.

2. Clear use cases of technology for a high volume of underserved teachers.

We all know a teacher who has gone above and beyond to help their students, yet we don’t focus as much on how we can supercharge their impact. Teachers are some of the hardest-working and most underserved professionals; a recent study by Brookings found that teachers spend an average of ~20 hours outside of work, uncompensated, to prepare for the demands of the classroom. For this reason, teachers, especially in Latin America, experience some of the highest stress levels from being under-resourced, which leads to burnout and potential mental health difficulties. Most teachers want to focus solely on the needs of their students but are overburdened by demands from administrators, parents, and administrative back-office requirements. There has never been a more urgent time to build tools that empower teachers than today.

As such, we see a high need for innovation in Latin America's education system, which is facing multiple challenges. According to the Brookings report, "tremendous numbers of students are not finishing school [...] barely 40 percent graduate from the secondary level across the region."

3. Builds tools for teachers based on the policy requirements for the Brazilian educational system.

Teachy is not simply an interface built on top of an LLM; it contains intricate layering to provide actionable, high-quality, and built-for-educator tools that will empower teachers to save more time and allow them to focus on higher-ROI activities such as personalizing their education to their students’ needs. Teachy’s initial suite of tools allows teachers to create and evaluate teaching and testing materials, as well as provide personalized feedback to students on how to improve their learning outcomes. In addition, it helps teachers sort through a library of educational content such as videos and articles to help complement their lesson plans.

Teachy's initial head start of building for the teacher and understanding needs via proprietary data will enable them to construct additional functionalities for teachers that will help them augment their productivity and quality of teaching, reduce the time it takes to prepare for class, and provide even more personalized support for their students.

At Roble, we believe that technology can be leveraged to augment our human capabilities in order to make us more productive and purposeful. In this regard, Teachy excels; its proprietary platform will help some of the world’s most underserved and vital members of society be more productive and impactful with their work. We are thrilled to explore how Teachy will make a difference in improving the educational system and learning outcomes for a new generation of students.

About the author

Roble Ventures
noun: oak

Roble Ventures is a future-of-work focused fund investing in technologies that enable people, teams, and organizations to achieve their most ambitious work.

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