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Nordic EdTech News #95: 2023-09-04
Your Weeks 34 - 35 update from the Nordic and Baltic EdTech ecosystem
Nordic EdTech News is the best way to keep up with the EdTech ecosystem across 8 Nordic and Baltic countries. I curate it from company updates and a wide variety of international sources. It’s a passion project of mine - the rest of my time is spent advising / consulting the companies who lead the future of learning. If you’d like to find out more, drop me an email.
Hello, good morning and welcome to today’s NEN. It’s amazing to think that this newsletter has now been running for four years! Thanks to everyone for subscribing and supporting its journey.
As OpenAI launches a new guide for teachers using ChatGPT in their classrooms, it’s great to see Nordic EdTech businesses leveraging the technology to transform their operations. Norway’s Curipod is a great example of the difference this can make - since building generative AI into their product, the business has expanded rapidly, landing 1,000 new users every day (Link). The company has seen its valuation increase by 500% in a year and they’ve now closed a $4.6m seed round, led by leading US investor, Reach Capital (Link). Congratulations to everyone at Curipod!
For publishers wrestling with these technological challenges, Denmark’s Praxis offers a compelling vision of what’s possible. They’ve launched a new digital marketing textbook with an integrated chatbot that explains key content themes and supports students to solve a problem rather than just answering it for them (Link).
Returning to funding news, Oppiva Invest has confirmed two new investments in leading Finnish EdTech solutions: Annie Advisor and Lyfta (Link). No additional, more specific details have been announced but their third and last funding round for 2023 is open until 2nd October. Full details here.
On the flip side, the time taken to raise capital has been identified as a key factor in Gleechi’s recently-announced bankruptcy (Link). The law firm handling the process is starting a sales process: “"It is a well-known company with an interesting product. So the interest is great.”
Still no conclusion to the all-cash private equity deal to take Kahoot back into private ownership. The investor group led by Goldman Sachs set itself the goal of getting 90% of existing shareholders to accept the offer. However less than 60% had accepted the offer by the original deadline, which has now been extended to 8th September (Link).
The attraction of the public markets is still evident for other players in our ecosystem. Shape Robotics have confirmed their plans to list on the main Danish stock market this year (Link). CEO André Fehrn confirmed: “We still have a clear expectation that the company can be listed on the main market at the end of Q4 in connection with our publication of figures for the 3rd quarter." In a pay-walled interview with ITWatch, Fehrn gave more insight into some of the challenges associated with rapid international growth - e.g. embedding a corporate vision across geographies and lots of travel.
Staying in Denmark, the Future Classroom Lab and CFU at Copenhagen University of Applied Sciences have announced the launch of SkoleGPT, “a free, secure, GDPR compliant, open source generative AI, targeting primary and secondary school teachers and students” (Link). The aim is to ensure that “school students in Denmark have the opportunity to use, analyse and reflect critically on the potentials and pitfalls of digital technologies.” The solution is clearly labelled as a “prototype” but I’ll be watching its future development with interest.
As always, if you’ve got a story that you’d like me to include in a future issue of this newsletter, please email email@example.com, tag me on Twitter or LinkedIn or use #nordicedtech / #balticedtech.
Thanks for reading, Jonathan
News from Denmark
Datatilsynet confirms that the Chromebook decision has been further delayed and is not now due until "before the autumn holidays." (Link)
Gyldendal confirms H1 revenues are virtually unchanged from 2022 (DKK 339 million vs DKK 338 million) (Link) but warns against a race to the bottom for teaching resources, which “cannot avoid affecting quality” (Link).
News from Estonia
Apply for the EdTech co-creation programme run by EdTech Estonia and the University of Tartu by 10 September. (Link)
News from Finland
Meet Visa Saarinen, the Finnish maths teacher bringing the subject to life for students on TikTok. (Link)
Great to see EdTech so well represented in this list of Top Women From VC and Startup Ecosystem in Finland.
The newly established Konepaja high school has no exams and students study at a workplace one day a week. (Link)
New initiative brings together EdTech companies, research and education organisations, cities and end-users, enabling companies to test and develop their products and services in real user environments and get immediate expert feedback. (Link)
Olli-Pekka Heinonen, CEO of the International Baccalaureate organisation, on Pisa and the challenges facing Finland’s schools. (Link)
News from Iceland
Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Iceland’s Minister of Education and Children, has announced plans to develop guidelines for the use of smartphones in primary schools nationwide. (Link)
News from Latvia
STEM skills are critical for Latvia’s future growth and development. (Link)
News from Lithuania
bzn start highlights 9 top Lithuanian EdTech businesses. (Link)
More maths, new textbooks, updated educational content = a plan for the new school year.
Schools are encouraged to try and test “remote, mixed and hybrid education prototypes.” (Link)
News from Norway
Oslo secondary schools can now sign up for assessment via long-term assignments rather than formal examinations. (Link)
News from Sweden
Gothenburg municipality seeks a special dispensation to access additional government funding for textbooks. (Link)
Nine out of ten parents are positive that their children get digital skills in primary school, according to researchers from Tekniska Museet. (Link)
Increasing international coverage of Sweden’s “step back” towards textbooks.
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