Creating and marking exams is one of the most time consuming tasks teachers need to deal with. In Vietnam, a startup called Azota He wants help with an online software platform that not only helps teachers develop and monitor tests, but also rank them automatically using information from Vietnamese teaching materials. The company announced today that it has raised $2.4 million in pre-Series A funding led by GGV Capital, with participation from Nextrans and return investor Do Ventures.
Founded last year, Azota now has 700,000 teachers and 10 million primary, secondary, and high school students among its users. It says that during peak testing periods, it serves more than six million users each month, or about 30% of the total number of teachers and students in Vietnam. It claims it can reduce the grading process from two hours when done manually to just two minutes.
The creation of Azota came amid the pandemic in 2021. Prior to co-founding the startup, Au Nguyen, the company’s CEO, worked for Viettel, one of the largest telecom companies in Vietnam. He led a teaching unit on school management solutions, but realized that teachers had many pain points that his team could not solve. As a result, he decides to collaborate with his friends, Dai Nguyen and Hong Lu, to create Azota.
“As the team sees it, there are two main areas of work for educators: teaching and assigning and marking tests,” they told TechCrunch in an email. “During COVID times, teaching had to go online, and there were many tools to support this change like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, etc. But when it came to online assignment and ranking, there were quite a few tools available, which Making the process labor-intensive and time-consuming.”
Azota has built an OCR application to automatically recognize questions and answers from test images taken from teachers’ phones. It randomizes these questions and answers to create hundreds of modified test combinations. Since the OCR was created using Vietnamese educational materials, the team said it can recognize Vietnamese tests with an accuracy rate of 99%.
Azota founders are also working on more advanced question bank features that will allow educators to pick and choose from their inventory to create exams from scratch.
They added that the startup is being used by educators across the country, with about 22% coming from major cities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and the rest evenly distributed among all provinces in Vietnam.
The team identifies two main groups of competitors. The first are the major companies that provide Learning Management Software (LMS) to schools, but they say it is still a fragmented market in Vietnam with different companies dominating different regions.
The second is start-ups that provide tools for educators, but the founders of Azota say the teaching tool segment is still early days and that Azota distinguished itself by using a product-led growth model, solving key challenges for educators as they grow, especially for assignment and grading, rather than trying to address every issue that comes up.
In a prepared statement, GGV Capital’s global managing partner, Jixun Foo, said, “By using technology to empower educators to teach better, Azota makes great education available to millions of students. They can unleash the true potential of educators to groom the next generation of Vietnamese youth.”