- AI-powered solution for university teachers spun out of the University of Birmingham
- Reduces average grading times by 74%, increases feedback by 7.2 times
- €835,000 seed round, with €585,000 committed
- Addressing university lecturers in UK, Europe, USA
6 Bit Education, a technology company that specializes in making software to optimize grading, is looking to raise an €835,000 seed round on SeedBlink, the European crowd investing platform for tech startups. The lead investor is an important VC from UK, with €468,000, existing investors are expected to follow on for €117,000. On SeedBlink are available €300,000 for retail investors, with tickets starting from 2,500 euros.
The UK-based EdTech startup developed Graide, a solution that uses artificial intelligence to remove repetition from grading, calculate grades, sync with college management systems, and generate reports, saving teachers time. This solution learns how science, technology, engineering, and maths teachers give feedback, to reduce their grading and feedback workload.
With this next round of funding, 6 Bit Education will increase the size of their sales team, continue to improve the product and improve the AI for short answer text and image recognition. In the long term, 6 Bit Education plans to enter the secondary education market, where the effect of teacher workload is extreme.
Spun out of the University of Birmingham in late 2019, 6 Bit was created by staff and tech-savvy PhD students from the university’s Department of Theoretical Physics. Dr Manjinder Kainth, Robert Stanyon and George Bartlett set out to solve this problem whilst working alongside University teaching staff Dr Austin Tomlinson, Dr Jonathan Watkins, and Director of Education, for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Nicola Wilkin to develop Graide: a platform that puts the AI in grading to be an aide for teachers.
The team has also begun building out an advisory board that include education technology specialists, one of whom has exited an EdTech unicorn.
In April 2020, 6 Bit Education received funding from SEIS through Startup Funding Club to build the platform and make its first sales.
Graide accepts both hand-written and digital submissions or allows for students to use optical character recognition. It automatically calculates the grades, syncs up with university learning management systems, gives statistics and a summary of common issues. All grading can be reviewed by a teacher and easily and consistently updated.
The burdens of grading contribute to additional working hours; in 2020, 31% of UK teachers worked more than 51 hours/week 11 of which were spent on grading. Universities spend an estimated £130 per student per year on grading and feedback. Despite this, quality and timeliness feedback is consistently one of the lowest scoring questions on the National Student Survey.
“One of the most important parts of learning is getting feedback, and reacting to that to grow over time. Providing that feedback is extremely expensive. Universities spend £2.3bn a year paying for casual hourly work to give feedback, and schoolteachers spend up to 11 hours/week of their personal time grading and giving feedback. Grading takes away from valuable teaching activities such as face-to-face contact and is the leading cause of teacher exit”, commented Dr Manjinder Kainth, the CEO of 6 Bit Education.
In a pilot study at the University of Birmingham has shown to reduce average grading times by 74%, increase feedback by 7.2 times. Following this testing 6 Bit Education sold a 1-year pilot to the University of Birmingham’s Engineering and Physical Sciences College.
“6 Bit Education is already being leveraged by prestigious universities in the UK, and we look forward to supporting their vision to dramatically improve education through increased feedback and streamlined grading. As STEM knowledge and skills are in high demand, we are excited to launch 6Bit Education’s crowd investing campaign on SeedBlink, a company at the forefront of EdTech with strengths in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math”, said Laurentiu Ghenciu, Chief Business Officer at SeedBlink.