We recently released our flagship report, The Deal, which analyses equity finance trends in the UK since 2011. By tracking every equity deal we can build a complete picture of this form of business finance in the UK. When we split these deals by certain sectors, it becomes clear where investors are betting on high returns in the near future. One of those sectors is EdTech, which unlike most other sectors saw an increase in funding in 2018 when compared with 2017. In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the UK’s top EdTech startups.
Leading the way in the UK’s EdTech sector is Kano, having raised £21m in equity finance funding since it incorporated in early 2013. This company, rated as one of 2019’s most innovative by Fast Company, develops a range of “build it yourself tech”, designed to help children learn how the devices that dominate our lives actually work.
One of Kano’s first product ranges was the Harry Potter Wand Coding Kit. This gamifies the creation of code for children, whilst also illustrating how software coding can control hardware.
Key backers: Localglobe, Barclays, Index Ventures, JamJar Investments
Pi-Top offers a similar product to Kano but for a slightly older age group. Their pi-tops (a specialist laptop) and pi-topCEED (a specialist desktop) allow teachers to design their own lessons across the STEM subject areas. Students are then encouraged to “learn by making” and create their own code.
Key backers: Hambro Perks
The UK’s biggest EdTech deal of 2018 (£14.8m) went to Fuse. This company creates software to facilitate skills development and training in the workplace. As technology continues to advance and the job landscape continues to change, EdTech may provide a much-needed infrastructure for individuals to re-train and develop new skills.
Fuse’s platform is designed to transform learning in the workplace, allowing companies to quickly help their employees adapt to new technologies. They’re one of the new EdTech startups to have declared their turnover – in 2018 they generated over £5m, though it is as yet unprofitable.
Key backers: Eight Road Ventures
Founded in early 2015 by ex-UBS Director Sofia Fenichell, Mrs Wordsmith has already raised over £10m in funding, and in 2018 released company filings indicating they were valued at around £17m.
Mrs Wordsmith’s team of data scientists have identified 10,000 words which they believe are vital to establishing solid reading and comprehension skills. For each of these words, they’ve designed a range of digitised and print products, designed to teach children a set of these vital words, depending on their age.
In 2018 they raised $11m from a consortium of investors including Kindred Capital and Reach Capital. Such a sizeable round for such a young company indicates they have either developed impressive tech or generated impressive sales.
Key backers: Kindred Capital, Reach Capital
This innovative startup straddles the border between EdTech and the sharing economy. Their website and mobile app aim to help people learning new languages. The particular selling point is its ability to connect users with native speakers, and a similar service whereby native writers can correct bodies of text.
Key backers: PROfounders Capital, McGraw Education
Similar to Busuu, Memrise has developed an online platform designed for language learning via games. The platform also hosts a knowledge sharing community for users to provide tips and support for making progress. Memrise brought on new investors in June 2018 with a $15.5m (£11.6m) funding round. This included Octopus Ventures, one of the prime movers in the UK’s VC community.
Key Backers: Octopus Ventures, Balderton Capital
Note: these startups were compiled based on several criteria, including equity finance and financial statements.
Read our full edtech analysis in The Deal.
The Deal is our free, detailed analysis of every equity fundraising in 2018. We look at the stories behind the deals, and examine which companies, investors and sectors are making waves.