New round involves groups focused on education and technology such as Crescera Capital, Owl Ventures, IDB Lab and Altitude (venture capital anchored by the Peninsula); the round also included the participation of two foundations focused on impact on education, Lemann Foundation and VélezReyez+
Letrus, a Brazilian edtech focused on AI-driven literacy and recognized by UNESCO as the best educational technology in the world, has announced its US$7.3 million raise. The company has raised US$14 million since its inception.
This raise was co-led by Owl Ventures, the largest edtech-focused venture capital firm with over US$2 billion under management, and Crescera Capital, a leading Brazilian venture capital and private equity manager with a strong focus on education. Hailey Carter, Vice President at Owl Ventures and Letrus Board Observer, shared, “Letrus is at the forefront of AI-powered edtech in Brazil. Letrus’ efficacious literacy product democratizes access to high-quality education, and we are proud to partner with the team to help support their efforts to continue to scale across schools in Brazil and LATAM.”
"Letrus’ efficacious literacy product democratizes access to high-quality education."
IDB Lab, an arm of the Inter-American Development Bank dedicated to investments in innovation, and Altitude, a venture capital fund anchored by Península, also participated in the raise.
Several other important philanthropic institutions in the Brazilian educational ecosystem participated in the round: Lemann Foundation from the Jorge Paulo Lemann family and VélezReyez+, a foundation created by David Vélez (founder and CEO of Nubank) and Mariel Reyez (founder of Reprograma). This is the first time these foundations have made direct investments in a private business, largely driven by Letrus’s positive social impact on students. “The diversity of investors, from global funds to philanthropic organizations, reinforces that technology and innovation can be applied to build a great business and generate impact at scale,” says Thiago Rached, co-founder and CEO of Letrus.
Founded by Luis Junqueira and Thiago Rached, Letrus is a school literacy program that uses artificial intelligence to develop students’ writing and reading skills. Letrus combines pedagogical methodology with a digital platform focused on student engagement and learning. Its artificial intelligence - recognized as the best educational technology in the world by UNESCO in 2020 - enables students to be effectively placed at the center of the teaching-learning process, achieving unprecedented learning results. An impact assessment funded by MIT’s J-PAL laboratory in 2019 in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil, proved that students who took part in the program for five months achieved, on average, the second-best score in Brazil, while students who did not use Letrus ranked eighth. For the first time, Espírito Santo was the highest-ranking state in Brazil on the writing portion of ENEM, Brazil’s high-stakes standardized national exam. More than 630 schools are using Letrus to improve students’ writing and reading abilities from middle to high schools.
Resources from the raise will be used to drive growth, particularly across Letrus’s product and GTM strategy. The goal is to reach 1 million students in two years. In terms of product, the company will continue to focus its efforts on evolving and improving its artificial intelligence to drive student engagement further.
How Letrus technology works
Through its artificial intelligence, Letrus personalizes the students’ learning process and supports teachers with accurate information about their classes.
For co-founder and teacher Luis Junqueira, artificial intelligence does not replace the human experience of teaching, but rather augments it through data collection and technologically enabled experiences. “It is this combination of artificial intelligence with the deep human perspective of teachers that makes the Letrus program unique and so effective in student engagement and learning”, says Junqueira.
"It is this combination of artificial intelligence with the deep human perspective of teachers that makes the Letrus program unique and so effective in student engagement and learning."
Owl Ventures is the largest venture capital fund in the world focused on the education technology market with over $2.2 billion in assets under management. The Silicon Valley based firm invests in the world’s leading education technology companies across the education spectrum encompassing PreK-12, higher education and future of work (career mobility/professional learning). Owl Ventures has deep domain expertise and leverages a global network of Limited Partners, investors, and strategic partners to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses into transformative category-leading companies.
Crescera Capital is a private equity manager that has been operating in the market since 2008 and invests in companies with high growth potential in the education, consumer, retail, services, health, logistics, innovation and technology sectors. In the educational area, the portfolio brings together companies such as Abril Educação, nima group, HSM, Affero Lab, Afya, IOA and Vitru.
IDB Lab is the arm of the Inter-American Development Bank fully dedicated to promoting innovation on a regional scale by investing in solutions that can later be scaled by the IDB, IDB Invest, or external partners. Among the projects financed is She is Digital, which aims to to reduce gender inequality in the Latin American technology industry by training women in vulnerable situations.
Altitude is a venture capital fund that invests in innovative and disruptive companies in the early growth stage in areas in which Brazil faces major challenges. Anchored by the Península, Altitude has already made seven investments, including the companies Passei Direto, Descomplica and Sanar in the Education sector.
Lemann Foundation is a non-governmental, family and non-profit organization working in education and leadership, both with a transversal commitment to racial equity. It operates using a logic of collaborative philanthropy to boost the impact of the initiatives it supports and promote social transformation.
Letrus is an EdTech company that built a writing and reading development program, using educational technology and artificial intelligence. In operation since 2017, the program is currently applied into 630 schools in all 27 states in Brazil. It was awarded by UNESCO as the best educational technology in the world and academically approved by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). Letrus raised a Series A round in 2020 which included Potencia Ventures, Canary, Positive Ventures and Altitude.