Australian edtech company HEX raises $1.25 million seed fund to accelerate ‘innovation gap year’

Updated: Feb 21

Multi-award-winning education technology (edtech) company HEX (startwithhex.com) has completed a seed funding raise of $1.25 million as it continues to build out its new digital ‘innovation gap year’ program, HEX Ed, created in partnership with Atlassian and affiliated with more than 36 Australian and international universities.

Based in Melbourne and co-founded in 2017 by globally recognised innovator Jeanette Cheah, HEX delivers immersive future-focused and entrepreneurship programs to university students and the next generation of talent.

The funds raised will fuel HEX’s impressive growth and its mission to 'empower a generation of new economy leaders and raise the exponential intelligence of the global workforce’. At the top of the list is further building out the HEX Ed program while expanding its existing global community of more than 9,000 members, with international growth into key markets including the US, Malaysia and India.

HEX CEO and founder Jeanette Cheah says the funding will help the company reach more students globally to teach them skills for the real world and expose them to alternative opportunities and career paths.

Jeanette says, “We all know there continues to be a skills gap between what young people are learning at school and what they actually need to be job-ready.

“The tech talent shortage is happening around the world, and let’s face it – the world is crying out for fresh leadership. It’s our responsibility to arm the next generation with the necessary skills and knowledge to be the leaders we need for the future economy. This is why HEX is committed to establishing the ‘innovation gap year’ as an essential step in students’ learning journey.

“We are in a high-growth phase that will be accelerated by the current funding round. We are extremely proud to be working with a strong group of investors who are gender diverse, impact-focused, and rule-breakers in their own rights. They don’t believe linear career paths are the only option, and share our vision to empower the generation who will change the face of business and technology. We are excited about what the future holds for our students and are grateful for the value each investor brings.”

The raise was led by impact venture capital fund Giant Leap. It also attracted a consortium of investors who focus on female founders and women-led startups, including LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund and angel network, Scale Investors.

Additional VCs and industry players who participated in this round include global entrepreneurial ecosystem Draper Startup House Ventures; Aussie Angels, an investment syndicate launched by startup champion Cheryl Mack; and startups and edtech expert Wendy Bonnici. Previously, HEX secured a cash injection from revenue-based financing firm, Tractor Ventures.

Adam Milgrom, Partner, Giant Leap, says: “HEX is addressing the increasingly volatile and uncertain future for jobseekers graduating from studies. The skills taught by the business’s programs go beyond the traditional “job-readiness” to “life-readiness'' by including courses in personal finance, ethics and entrepreneurialism.

“Jeanette is a brilliant founder and has built an incredibly strong community around HEX. We’re in awe of her ability to foster major partnerships with companies like Atlassian to not only further her business but drive better, tangible outcomes for young people.”

Dr Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic, says: “We are excited to see HEX take the next step in their startup journey, especially the important task of building the next generation of tech talent.

“The capital they have secured will help them refine their product offer and propel their long-term growth – something LaunchVic is focused on ensuring right across all aspects of the Victorian startup sector.”

Prior to the pandemic, HEX led international study programs for students around the world, including regular visits to Silicon Valley and home of the Asian startup economy, Singapore. Despite most of the world shutting down, HEX continued to experience growth last year – a 24 per cent increase in revenue, an expanded customer footprint in the UK, Canada and NZ, and doubled the team from five to 11.


About HEX

HEX (startwithhex.com) is an Australian-based, multi-award-winning edtech company delivering innovation and entrepreneurship programs to the next generation of talent. Founded in 2017 by globally renowned innovator Jeanette Cheah, the programs are university-accredited and internationally recognised, and have amassed a community of more than 8000 students. Its programs such as HEX Ed (co-designed with Atlassian) and HEX World support the company’s mission to build future global founders, leaders and talent to close the future skills gap shortage.