Upswing Raises $1.5M to Better Support Online Students


Upswing Raises $1.5M to Better Support Online Students

Nov 29, 2017

UP AND UP: Do online-only college students receive less support than their on-campus peers? That’s a theory held by Melvin Hines, co-founder and CEO of Austin-based Upswing, an online tutoring and support company for students, advisors, instructors and others that work in online education.

Originally a video platform for online coaching, Upswing’s pivot into academic support has helped it raise $1.5 million in funding in a round led by Lumina Impact Ventures, and including Stanford Graduate School of Business, Rethink Education and Village Capital. The current funding round brings the company’s total raise to $3 million.

Part of the company’s offerings include its Student Services Platform, which provides resources specifically for online students and those who don’t develop the same on-campus networks as other students. The platform offers more communication options for students and their coaches or instructors. A back-end dashboard for administrators tracks student performance with an eye on helping schools better retain online students.

At a lot of colleges, Hines says, on campus students hold an advantage over other students in the interactions and opportunities they can access. Those who take their classes online can get “relegated to Blackboard and videos,” he says. That communication gap is something Upswing is looking to improve.

Upswing says it currently works with more than 70 colleges and universities around the country and has tools to support about 700,000 students. It also works with on-campus tutors, advisors, writing centers and other administrators.

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