Startup of the Month:

Education platform integrates academic and behavioral insights with AI

Back Article Jul 5, 2024 By Russell Nichols

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When a student is struggling with a concept, the reasons may go beyond the teaching. Other factors, such as social needs and learning styles, could play a role.

But educators need science to identify and diagnose these issues, which may be happening anecdotally, according to Shweta Gandhi. Her Davis-based startup,, aims to combine academic data (e.g. assignments and quizzes) with attendance, behavior and social-emotional data, using the power of AI.

“Edtech is interesting,” Gandhi says, “but it’s a small sliver of what a child needs for why they’re not understanding a concept.”

Working with edtech and assessment providers and other vendors with student data, aims to fill gaps in learning as an advanced AI tool for district leaders, administrators and teachers. In April, her startup won first place in the Sacramento Kings Capitalized startup competition

Gandhi has worked in education most of her career in the U.S. and abroad. Managing innovation at a charter school in San Jose, she found that collected data offered insights at the classroom level, but the technology available was limited.

“The lack of the AI boom made ingesting and understanding data from so many various sources much harder and cost prohibitive to do three years ago,” Gandhi says.

Fast forward to 2023. Gandhi now had AI at her disposal, allowing edtech data to be more useful. Strived helps educators with AI-powered data analysis for planning lessons and curriculum. Similar to using Google, the tool allows school leaders and teachers to find quick answers about their students and decide if they need in-person support or can use online tools for extra practice.

“The goal is to say, ‘First, let’s capture all the data in a scalable, safe, secure way,’” Gandhi says. “Let’s then use AI on the back end to push out recommendations.”

The platform also offers pre-recommended analysis in an easy-to-read inbox format, so teachers get immediate value without extra effort, Gandhi says.

Monique Brown, co-founder and managing director of Growth Factory, highlights Gandhi’s expertise coming from the edtech space, and her ability to be resourceful, strategic and ready to try new things. But the Growth Factory didn’t invest immediately.

Brown explains that selling into the education sector can be expensive and challenging — especially going school to school, district to district, as Gandhi was doing initially. After receiving and synthesizing feedback from the fund team and others, Gandhi began collaborating with “partners already established that had tech in the district, but didn’t have what she brought to the table,” Brown says.

From that point, Brown says, her ability to get customers accelerated quickly because she was building relationships with partners who had connections in the districts.

“Shweta’s ability to take feedback, determine how she felt about it and put it into action right away … produced rapid results,” Brown says.

After a beta launch in January, Strived will officially be released for districts and teachers this summer (see teaser) with a version for parents and kids slated for early next year. The team — which includes two full-timers, a part-time intern and a team of India-based engineers — is currently in a pre-seed round, looking to raise $500,000. 

As of June 2024, the startup has two contracts of about $60,000 each with other districts and data vendors showing interest, Gandhi says. In recent years, the talk of AI displacing workers in various sectors has become more pronounced. Gandhi doesn’t believe there will be a threat to teaching jobs.

“I don’t think teachers’ jobs will be replaced,” Gandhi says. “Hopefully, we can augment the work they’re doing through data we’re pulling.”

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