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US firm Course Hero buys Tel Aviv-based online math teacher Symbolab

Founded by mathematicians and computer scientists in 2011, Symbolab helps students understand and practice math; startup will retain brand, team

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Tel Aviv-based Symbolab is a maker of artificial intelligence-based education technology that is used by over one million users globally to study math (YouTube screenshot)
Tel Aviv-based Symbolab is a maker of artificial intelligence-based education technology that is used by over one million users globally to study math (YouTube screenshot)

California-based Course Hero, a firm that provides online learning courses, has acquired Tel Aviv-based Symbolab, a maker of education technology that is used by over a million users globally to study math. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded by mathematicians and computer scientists in 2011, Symbolab helps students better understand and practice math problems across a range of educational levels and subjects, such as advanced algebra, trigonometry, calculus, chemistry and physics. The firm provides students with step by step solutions to math problems, as well as artificial intelligence-driven personalized learning, assessments and insights.

The firm, which employs nine workers, was founded by Michal Avni, Lev Alyshayev and Adam Arnon, and has raised $1.7 million to date, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central. According to data provided by Course Hero, the Israeli firm was on track for answering over 1 billion questions and over 200 million visits in 2020 on its website and its mobile app.

“Having launched a first-of-its-kind, AI-powered geometry solution today, Symbolab is the only math education platform in the world that can help students and educators solve complex geometry problems featuring detailed explanations and proofs,” Course Hero said in a statement on Tuesday. “Symbolab’s expertise in AI and learning science will amplify Course Hero’s future development of cutting-edge resources and tools for learners.”

The Symbolab technology will be integrated into the Course Hero offering, the statement said, but the startup will retain its existing brand and team of mathematicians, developers, and computer scientists. This is Course Hero’s first strategic acquisition following its $80 million Series B funding in August, the US firm said.

“College-level math is among the most challenging subjects for students, but it’s also one of the most important gateways to college success. This is about complementing great teaching by providing students with another way to ask and answer questions, practice, and master critical concepts,” said Andrew Grauer, co-founder and CEO of Course Hero.

Course Hero is used by millions of college students to get study materials, share notes and access 24/7 tutor help. The learning materials include practice problems, study guides, textbook solutions, videos, class notes, and step-by-step explanations per subject. More than 50,000 faculty across the US and Canada use Course Hero, the statement said. The US firm, with a valuation of $1.1 billion, was founded in 2006, and has raised a total of $97.4 million to date. The firm employs 230 workers.

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