NEW YORK — Marker Learning, which developed a telepsychology platform that enables the remote administration of learning disability assessments and services, has announced a $4 million seed round led by Primary, with participation from Divergent Investments, Night Ventures, and Operator Partners. Marker Learning will use the funding to expand its team and accelerate its geographic expansion in the United States.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 students has dyslexia, but up to 80% of cases go undiagnosed due to the high costs of evaluations and difficulty accessing licensed psychologists. The importance of getting a proper diagnosis and assistance cannot be overstated, as undiagnosed students are more likely to drop out of school, experience unemployment, and have mental health issues. It also has a massive economic impact — a recent Boston Consulting Group study estimated that under-diagnosis and under-support of the dyslexic community will cost $1 trillion dollars over the next several decades, in California alone.
Co-founders Stefan Bauer and Emily Yudofsky have a personal connection with these statistics, as they both struggled academically before getting diagnosed with dyslexia in elementary school. After receiving a proper diagnosis and support, Bauer went on to earn an MBA from Yale and spent several years working at McKinsey, while Yudofsky, a Yale College graduate and Stanford MBA, worked at Google and started a successful telemedicine business. Bauer and Yudofsky started Marker Learning to ensure every student has the same access to learning disability support that they did and to fix the current broken system; evaluations for dyslexia and other learning disabilities often cost over $10,000 and are typically not covered by insurance. In addition, struggling students often have to wait months to get evaluated due to a lack of access to licensed psychologists. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these access and cost issues, as testing was nearly halted at the height of the pandemic, causing months to years-long backlogs of evaluations.
By working with leading psychologists and learning disability specialists, Bauer and Yudofsky developed a digital platform that enables psychologists to diagnose students in a remote setting for a fraction of the cost and time, compared to similar in-person services. Bauer states, “Receiving a proper diagnosis was one of the most impactful events of my life. We aim to provide best-in-class evaluations to the millions of students who currently do not have access to them, so that every student can reach their full potential.”