Social homework helper platform Bapul announced on Mar. 17 that it will soon release updates to its web and mobile apps. The new version will enable users to register and login using their Naver accounts, and will integrate Naver Encyclopedia onto the platform.
With a vision of making collaborative learning easy, Bapul was founded in 2011 as an online social network for peer-sourcing tricky homework problems. In many ways Bapul resembles Q&A platform Quora but primarily targets middle school and high school students. To save students from using search engines not optimized for complex and narrow queries, the platform instead has its users post questions as pictures. Students can use their phones to take pictures of homework problems from textbooks, school, and hagwons (private academies) and upload them directly via the app.
The platform is Korea’s second most downloaded app in the education category. It is outranked by only EBS, the country’s state-run educational television broadcasting company. Bapul now has around 300,000 middle school and high school users. and has in 2013 raised $660K in Series A funding. Investors for the company include Capstone Partners, SK Planet, and Asan Nanum Foundation.
The app’s new Naver login feature comes much from user feedback. Even with the stronghold of Facebook and Google, local portal website Naver still attracts the majority of South Korean Internet traffic. Many own an account on the portal website, which offers a variety of platform services including the long-standing Q&A platform Naver Jisik. The company believes that the added social login feature will make Bapul easier to join for Naver Jisik frequenters.
Bapul also expects the newly integrated encyclopedia to further enrich users’ learning experiences. Rather than just posting answers, question solvers can now also attach encyclopedia entries to their responses. This allows users to receive even more comprehensive explanations on how to solve the problem.
Bapul CEO Min Hee Lee hopes that the new feature will help students learn smarter and improve their grades.
“Rather than simply tackle as many problems as possible, students need to obtain a solid understanding of the underlying theory behind homework problems,” said Lee.