The team behind Barbeques Galore just raised $20 million in series A funding for a children’s online tutoring business

- April 30, 2019 2 MIN READ
Online tutoring startup Cluey, which wants to change the way kids learn using tech and AI, has raised $20 million in Series A funding.

International technology investor Allectus Capital and Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group, including the listed Thorney Technologies Ltd, led the round, which takes the total raised to $31 million. 

Cluey is the brainchild of venture capitalist Mark Rohald, a 30-year veteran of education and training in the UK, South Africa, Canada and Australia. His previous ventures include Educor and Open Colleges Australia, the latter sold to Apollo Global for around $220m.  He founded Cluey last year. 

Rohald is a partner in Quartet Ventures, the VC firm behind founding and then selling prominent business brands such as Barbeques Galore, Oporto, and Rebel. He is Cluey’s CEO. 

Mark Rohald with Cluey Chief Learning Officer Dr Selina Samuels

While Cluey employs experts for personalised tutoring for children from infants to high school, tailored for state-based education systems, Rohald is leading the company’s push to utilise state-of-the-art technology and AI for personalised, face-to-face online tutoring regardless of the child’s location, from remote farm to capital city. 

“The school classroom concept is over 100 years old – it’s a factory model. It’s very hard for one teacher to tailor learning to every child’s specific needs, prior knowledge, and interests,” Rohald said.

“Cluey uses an online learning platform with fully integrated video and audio, virtual whiteboard, digital content and AI to enable students anywhere in Australia to access the best tutoring experience.

“Learning analytics support the expert private tutor in delivering a fully adaptive learning program that’s in line with the Australian curriculum.”

The massive potential of the market is revealed in Cluey’s analysis that of 3.85 million school students in Australia, around 20% currently use tutoring services, and another 20% are considering it.

“Our research shows that parents of primary school children are the decision makers when it comes to selecting tutoring services. In the senior years, closer to a third of students themselves proactively research tutoring services,” Rohald said. 

“Cluey helps children feel confident, less anxious, stay on track with schoolwork, better prepare for tests and exams, and fill prior gaps in their learning.”

The funding will go towards further developing the learning platform and analytics capabilities to better understand the ways in which children learn, and personalise the process.

“We will continue to expand our curriculum to provide richer, more interactive, and more exciting lesson content,” he said.

“We are also working with universities to access greater opportunities for educational research.”