In recent years, platforms like Roblox and Minecraft have exploded in popularity. These platforms deliver rich, engaging, immersive worlds that captivate their users. They allow users to engage with content, create their own content, and interact with other users on the platform. My eight-year-old son would like to spend every waking minute playing Roblox, but his stubborn dad won’t let him!
Unfortunately, most digital learning content is not nearly as engaging and interactive. In fact, it can be downright boring. It’s often passive and non-interactive with a teacher using a whiteboard (whether digital or analog) and lecturing to students. It’s no surprise then that student outcomes in STEM subjects are abysmal, with about half of students who start a STEM course (online and offline) dropping out before they finish, 70% of instructors looking for better ways to engage learners with science content, and 65% of learners feeling unhappy or dissatisfied with their STEM content.
In STEM subjects, the research shows that learning is best done when it’s experiential. By utilizing the best of XR and 5G, Inspirit founders Amrutha Vasan and Aditya Viswanath are building a platform that’s both interactive and immersive — think virtual labs and simulations. Moreover, their approach to content democratizes teaching and learning by providing users with powerful no-code creator tools that allow them to create their own simulations — both teachers and students. Anyone can either drag-and-drop 3D content and build their own experiments or select an existing template from the growing library of user-created labs. Users can also integrate assessments and quizzes and can customize them to their needs.
The ability to turn students into creators (instead of consumers) is an important aspect of Inspirit’s differentiation as there are other interactive platforms on the market that focus on student consumption. As the popularity of Roblox and Minecraft demonstrate, we believe the market is ready for powerful no-code creator tools like these and that students will drive much of the expected adoption. Indeed, students and instructors are taking notice, with more than 50,000 users signed up since the September launch for access to a private beta. One 12-year-old student used Inspirit to build a quantum funnel with pre-made modules. The bottoms up, product-led growth motion that Inspirit uses has become a successful approach for companies that are looking to scale rapidly and efficiently in education technology and so many other software verticals. We’re hopeful that with an outstanding product and their product-led go-to-market strategy, Inspirit will enable millions of K12 students to create their own simulations and learn from other creations, inspiring many to deepen their knowledge of science and some to pursue STEM professions. With any luck, I’ll get my son to switch from Roblox to Inspirit!
Early impact data is encouraging as well. Through pilots with hundreds of students across two K12 districts and two universities, Inspirit showed large improvements in critical thinking and student engagement time on the platform. The pilots also demonstrated increases in self-efficacy and confidence in learning science, which is a critical indicator for students to continue their science education.
With a fast-growing and highly engaged user base, we see tremendous opportunity for Inspirit to deepen engagement and improve STEM learning outcomes for millions of students, especially for at-risk and marginalized students who don’t have equal access to these kinds of experiential learning opportunities. In the short term, they’re solving the problem of student engagement in STEM education in a virtual environment (forced upon schools by the COVID pandemic) and in the long run they’re democratizing access to quality STEM resources so that anyone can learn science in a fun, experiential way. Inspirit’s ambition is to become the community, the platform, and the marketplace for immersive and interactive STEM tools.
We at Edovate Capital are excited to team up with a talented line up of investors led by Sierra Ventures, with participation from our partner Red House Education and others including Unshackled Ventures, AME Cloud, January Ventures, and Roble Ventures. We believe Inspirit is the rare opportunity to build a large, impact-focused company while providing better education resources that can inspire millions of students to learn STEM subjects and are thrilled to support them at this early stage. I’m excited to work together!