Vygo, a Queensland-based EdTech platform that helps universities increase student engagement and lower dropout rates, has announced that it has received AU$850k investment from Australian Catholic University (ACU).
Founded in 2019 by Joel Di Trapani (L), Ben Hallett, Vygo helps educators champion more learners by helping them organize, digitize, and optimize their student support services to drive student retention, wellbeing, and success, and to cost-effectively scale their student impact. The platform gives students personalized support whether it's on-campus or online, making their academic, personal and professional student support programs more impactful, flexible, and scalable; ultimately helping to increase engagement, retain students, and lower dropout rates.
According to a press statement, universities have seen a 62% reduction in the number of students considering dropping out through the use of Vygo. The platform currently works with universities across the globe and actively supporting students in 50+ countries every month.
Professor Belinda Tynan, Provost, Australian Catholic University, said,
“We are excited to invest in Vygo because we believe they are at the forefront of helping educators optimize student experience and engagement to drive greater student outcomes and increase student retention. Peer-to-peer support is often considered the single most effective strategy for increasing student retention and student satisfaction. We believe in the future of education technology, in the need for social and peer-to-peer connection for their students, we want to help shape the future of education.”
Queensland’s Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said,
“It’s terrific to witness a Queensland-based startup develop an app that’s encouraging universities here in Australia and overseas to sit up and take notice. Vygo is already changing the way universities and peer groups help students to stay engaged and reach their education goals. Education is an important Queensland export industry and with the possibility of international students returning next year, Vygo – as a Queensland-grown app – has excellent potential to expand its success as the world recovers from the pandemic.”
According to Hinchliffe, Vygo has received a $100,000 Ignite Ideas start-up grant from the Palaszczuk Government’s Advance Queensland initiative in 2019.
Emeritus Prof Beverley Oliver says “Companies like Vygo can help bridge the gap between institutions and their students through accessible support. Retention, engagement, and employability are higher education hot-button issues for providers, policymakers, and the public. Our preliminary study released in 2020 suggests that online peer mentoring through platforms such as Vygo can contribute to solving them and giving students a better chance of success.”
Vygo also helps institutions to increase higher education student participation from low socioeconomic backgrounds by facilitating a range of student support programs that will assist students through the three distinct phases of the study. One of the use cases at ACU is Connect2Uni where the goal is to increase student participation from the Blacktown community in NSW.
The Vygo platform has been rolled out at 25% of Australian universities and also in the UK including ACU, the University of Queensland, RMIT, Coventry University, and Bond University. Vygo expects to be collaborating with 75% of Australian universities by the end of 2022.