EdTech communication platform Aula has secured $4.2m (£2.93m) in Seed funding.

Started by Oxford University students, Aula is a communication platform similar to WhatsApp and Slack that is intended to replace emails and Learning Management Systems, such as Blackboard, which is currently used by universities. The aim is to enable better teaching and greater student engagement.

The funding round was led by investors Project A, Brighteye Ventures, and Sunstone with participation from existing investors including Nordic Makers.

The funding will be used to further push for a ‘digital campus’ with existing partner institutions, to find new partners, and to make it easier to build integrations with the Aula platform.

Aula was founded in 2016 by Anders Krohn, Adrian Franklin and Oliver Nicolini, who had the idea after they were dissatisfied with their own experiences as students.

According to Krohn, CEO and co-founder of Aula, the digital student experience has the potential to be much better than it is now: “As universities strive towards a greater emphasis on student engagement and participation, digital learning infrastructure is often one of the main stumbling blocks.

“The platforms currently being used are clunky and end up serving mainly as digital filing cabinets for PDFs and lecture slides. Technology can do so much more than that—with Aula, we’ve created the platform we wished we had: an engaging and interactive digital space for students, staff, and educators.”

Early adopters of Aula include institutions such as the University of Nottingham, Ravensbourne, and the Royal College of Art.

Anton Waitz, partner at Project A, commented on the investment: “One reason we are so excited about the EdTech space is that it brings up extraordinary founders that are intrinsically motivated to build products that have a meaningful impact.

“Anders and his team are a perfect example, it is one of the most dedicated and passionate teams we have ever met,” he added.

The team developed the platform by working closely with educators and students, carrying out 230 pilot classes across 30 institutions that ranged from small workshops at MIT to large physics classes at Imperial College London.

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