Tabtor Math CEO Raj Valli discusses how EDA support has help Tabtor thrive.
TRENTON (July 13, 2016) – Continuing its efforts to bolster New Jersey’s vibrant technology sector, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced it recently closed on an $800,000 Edison Innovation VC Growth Fund loan to support South Brunswick-based Tabtor Math.
Created to enhance support of early-stage businesses that have attracted funds through venture capital investors, the Edison Innovation VC Growth Fund helps companies directly finance uses such as hiring key staff, product marketing, and sales. Up to $1 million in subordinated convertible debt financing is available for venture capital-supported technology companies with minimum commercial revenues of $500,000 in the prior 12 months. There is a 1:1 VC match funding requirement.
Like many New Jersey-based technology businesses, Tabtor is a small company making a large impact. The education technology company is determined to ensure that every child has a personalized, positive experience that will create a strong academic foundation. The results -- an increase in math scores for students and worldwide recognition for the South Brunswick-based startup.
Tabtor’s learning program provides personal attention from a dedicated tutor and is specifically tailored to every child’s unique learning needs. According to the company, it has rapidly become the world leader in personalized iPad and Android tablet-based math tutoring using a unique combination of digital analytics, dedicated tutors and patent-pending Active Replay Technology (ART). ART provides the ability to play back students’ handwritten work and empowers Tabtor tutors to grade beyond right or wrong answers; Tutors can not only identify the type of error, but also understand when and why it occurred, enabling them to give feedback specific to a particular mistake. A companion smartphone app provides parents with insight on a daily basis.
“Our unique tutoring approach allows us to deliver unprecedented results that are consistent, repeatable, and scalable – attributes which are desired and demanded by parents. Until now, results like this have remained elusive in the highly fragmented tutoring market,” said Raj Valli, Tabtor’s Chief Executive Officer. “As a disruptor and innovator in the tutoring space, Tabtor continues to grow rapidly with over 60,000 registered users in 12 countries.”
The company also notes a more than 90 percent improvement in math performance after just three months of use by students.
“With its highly-ranked school systems and vibrant technology ecosystem, New Jersey is the ideal location for education technology startups like Tabtor,” EDA CEO Melissa Orsen said. “Add in access to a multitude of resources, and it’s not surprising that Tabtor is flourishing in the Garden State.”
In addition to the Edison Innovation VC Growth Fund loan, Tabtor also benefited from the State’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. Between 2013 and 2015, Tabtor raised over $2 million from investors, several of whom took advantage of the State’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program. Ideal for emerging companies, the program offers a 10 percent tax credit against New Jersey corporation business or gross income tax for qualified investments in an eligible emerging technology business with a physical presence in New Jersey. More than $125 million has been invested in New Jersey-based emerging technology and biotechnology businesses since the Angel Investor Tax Credit Program launched in 2013.
@NJEDATech spoke with Valli about his company’s experience in New Jersey and its plans for the future:
Why did you choose to grow Tabtor in New Jersey?
When we introduced the program into New Jersey’s educational community, we noticed a strong correlation between students adopting the Tabtor platform and improved math performance. The community in New Jersey is overwhelmingly supportive of providing the best educational outcomes for its children; more than 15 percent of our overall global consumers are based in the Garden State and the evidence of student success has been overwhelming. Given the success in the consumer segment, Tabtor launched a pilot program in Greenbrook Elementary School in South Brunswick with the support of the district, and saw an average of 70 percent improvement in math scores. As a result of the success, the program is now used across all South Brunswick elementary schools and we are actively working with the middle school and high school as well. Rutgers Preparatory School, a private school in Somerset, has also adopted Tabtor.
What is Tabtor’s biggest success to date?
In addition to receiving the Seal of Approval from the National Parenting Center for our “superb design, quality and appeal” and our effectiveness in providing great learning outcomes, Tabtor is now being used by customers across 12 countries. We opened our first tutoring center in Cape Town, South Africa this month along with our partner Via Afrika, part of Naspers, a $65 billion internet and entertainment conglomerate. We are also happy to see a 335 percent increase in the number of paid subscribers in the last 18 months. More than anything, we have been able to maintain excellent customer satisfaction ratings, as evidenced by a 97 percent retention rate.
What’s on the horizon for your company?
We are a platform-based company and our plans include expansion into reading, higher-grade math, Advanced Placement and test prep among other subjects. We are also looking at growing our presence in Asia, Europe and Latin America. We have had an anchor center in South Brunswick since January 2015 and, due to overwhelming demand, are planning to open additional learning centers in neighboring areas in New Jersey.