Anti-Cheating Startup Examity Gets $90M to Advance Edtech Security

Examity has raised $90 million from Boston private equity firm Great Hill Partners to fuel its expansion and dig into how machine learning and biometric tools can make tests proctored online more secure.

The Newton, MA-based company says the private equity cash nearly buys out the stake in Examity that University Ventures took when it led a $21 million venture round for the startup in 2017.

Examity’s founder and chief executive Michael London said the college admissions cheating scandals splashing across the headlines this month underscore the need for tests to be more secure. That, combined with the growing acceptance of online education, has set up the company to sell its test proctoring and monitoring software.

“As college cheating scandals continue to make headlines, institutions are turning to technology to validate the learning experience and ensure confidence in student outcomes,” London said in a prepared statement. “This investment will enable us to scale and help universities, employers, and certification providers make good on the promise of online education for test-takers worldwide.”

The company says its technology and services can handle both automated and live test proctoring, and the level of security offerings can meet what administrators need for a particular test. This year, Examity expects its technology to enable the proctoring of 2 million exams at colleges and universities, including Penn State University, Texas A&M, and Western Governors University. The software is also used by companies and certification providers, including Amazon and database program developer MongoDB.

Examity offers biometric security features that track test-takers’ keystrokes, as well as using mobile devices to check fingerprints, facial recognition, and voice signatures. It’s unclear what other biometric tools the company might roll out to increase security. Examity says its machine learning algorithms spot “aberrant” cheating behaviors and document them for review.

Founded in 2013, Examity’s last funding round came in March 2017 when University Ventures and Inherent Group invested $21 million. Prior to that, the startup had raised $1 million from investors. In October, the company moved from Natick, MA, to offices in Newton that were previously home to TripAdvisor.

Brian Dowling is a Senior Editor at Xconomy, based in Boston. You can reach him at bdowling [at] xconomy.com. Follow @be_d

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