A Big Partnership for Higher Ed Data Analytics, Enflux Partners with ExamSoft

By Iris Gonzalez
Alejandra Zertuche is CEO of Enflux. Courtesy photo.

Big data analytics company Enflux announced Tuesday its partnership with Dallas-based ExamSoft, the leading provider of assessment tools for universities.

ExamSoft administers over 55 million exams for more than 1,700 academic, certification, and licensing programs and institutions. Partnering with ExamSoft enables the San Antonio software company to extend market reach for the Enflux higher-education enterprise software.

The software as a service (Saas) startup developed its analytics software for health science schools and has three patents pending for its technologies. Enflux’s cloud-based platform helps universities track student performance, a leading indicator for schools maintaining accreditation status.

“Capturing actionable data and providing meaningful reporting and analytics are core to the ExamSoft platform, and it is increasingly important in all facets of learning, assessment, and accreditation,” stated ExamSoft’s chief revenue officer Britt Nichols. “We are excited about how Enflux can bring multiple sources of data together to illustrate the insights for a deeper look at key trends.”

Academic institutions are required to measure performance but must access many categories of siloed data sources manually to assemble the information needed for the accreditation process.

The Enflux platform includes automated data extraction, organization, and analysis in intuitive dashboards. Enflux’s partnership with ExamSoft also means access to its assessment data to integrate with the other data sources residing on the Enflux platform.

“We’re creating a new category of SaaS to support decision making in higher education,” Enflux chief executive officer (CEO) Alejandra Zertuche said. “We go beyond analytics to help educators identify student needs at the granular level all the way to the programmatic level, where leadership must collect data for the accreditation process.”

To date, Enflux has contracted with 20 schools. The startup raised about $3 million in 2019 and will use its funding to grow its client case dramatically over the next three years. The ExamSoft partnership connects Enflux to over 2000 new schools, she said.

CEO Alejandra Zertuche joined Enflux as a vice president in February 2017. Enflux first started in 2015 as an analytics tool for luxury retailers to detect fake followers on social media.  The company was founded by Avery Booker, the former company president, and CEO and obstetrician Cameron Powell, who also launched two other health care apps — AirStrip and FetchMD. Both co-founders have since left the company’s day-to-day operations (Powell remains on the board).

It was Zertuche who developed the process to leverage big data analytics in a SaaS platform for the assessment and accreditation of academic programs Her experience working at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) Feik School of Pharmacy for more than five years as a senior analyst of academic assessment gave her the idea for Enflux’s core competency.

“I started this by focusing on health sciences educational institutions because all their activities like assessments, attendance, lecture participation, are digital,” Zertuche said. “However, I quickly saw how these schools were drowning in data and starving for insights.”

The first-time CEO was born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and raised both there and across the border in Laredo, Texas. She was at work at Enflux early one morning when she spoke to Powell (then Enflux CEO) about providing data-driven analytics to universities. Powell encouraged her interest as she discovered it took about 18 months using traditional methods to complete the accreditation process.

That intensive labor collecting data manually from many isolated silos has become the pain point Enflux solves for universities.

Enflux acquired UIW’s pharmacy school and the Texas A&M medical school as its first customers in 2017.  By January of 2018, the startup had pivoted its services to focus on university accreditation with Zertuche at its helm as CEO.

While competitors such as Unify offer assessment tools, other companies cannot accept all types of university data. Enflux is “data-agnostic,” Zertuche said, able to integrate multiple data sources regardless of source.

Dr. David Maize, who is Dean and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UIW, was Zertuche’s supervisor when she worked there.

He knew Zertuche had started her career as an engineer trained in system processes but observed how she took classes in coding and machine learning to develop the Enflux platform. As Zertuche presented her work on what would become the Enflux software process for accreditation at national conferences, Maize discovered the dashboard could “show trends by test and help students who are at risk,” he said.

“The data is very difficult to visualize, and there’s so much of it,” Maize said. “It’s also been a great advising tool to be able to easily pull up a student’s test records and spot exactly where they need help.”

The privately held company has 17 employees and works out of its headquarters at 4039 Broadway. Zertuche plans on raising additional Series B funding to support aggressive hiring, marketing, and development of new software features.

“Educators are wasting their time figuring out their data as they try to make data-informed decisions about low graduation rates and accreditation,” Zertuche said. “We’re working on a new feature that can drastically cut the accreditation process time.

“Our work will help educators outsource their data analytics to Enflux so they can invest their energies in higher graduation rates and better student outcomes.”

Featured image is of Alejandra Zertuche, who is CEO of Enflux. Courtesy photo.

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