Former Google employee's edTech startup exceeds its £1.15m funding target

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  • UK edTech company Zzish, has exceeded its £1.15m funding target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, less than 24 hours after the campaign went live to the public.

    Founded by a former Google product manager the edTech startup aims to democratise access to advanced learning technologies for teachers, pupils and developers.

    The initial £1.15m crowdfunding target was part of a bigger £1.5m funding round launched by the company to fund its global expansion plans.

    Backed by Leaf Investments, Europe’s leading EdTech venture fund, and Neil Hutchison, angel investor and founder of the Forward Internet Group, the £1.15m raise on Crowdcube will be used to roll out its product further internationally, where the global opportunity is set to be worth $252bn by 2020.

    The UK is the third largest market for EdTech investments, with Zzish being one of a few British EdTech businesses starting to prove efficacy and demand of its product overseas, particularly in developing nations with disproportionately large younger generations. These opportunities lie particularly in Asian territories, such as China, where EdTech is being used to upskill vast working-class populations.

    Zzish founder Charles Wiles, who has a doctorate in robotics and artificial intelligence, was motivated to set up the leading EdTech venture in 2014 when, as a single parent, he was trying to get his smart but disengaged and recently bereaved teenage son to enjoy school where he was struggling.

    The eureka moment occurred when, one day at work, Charles got a notification from the SongPop app he played with his daughter, alerting him that it was now his turn to answer a music quiz they were currently playing. Wiles thought, “wouldn’t it be good if this was an educational quiz rather than a pop one? And what if that same app took the performance data and diagnosed learning gaps that, through targeted play, could help a child memorise and master a subject?”

    To create an app which did just that, Charles quit his job at a data company in London where he was MD and invested his own life savings into setting up a business where he personally coded the first iteration of the app.

    Mobile learning is an emerging $38bn market and presents an exciting opportunity for new players to create valuable businesses within the education category. 

    Charles Wiles, co-founder and CEO, says: “Driving engagement and love for core disciplines at an early stage is not only crucial to the mastery of such subjects but is also necessary to producing the next generation of teachers, engineers, mathematicians and scientists that will power the innovation of tomorrow. We are pioneering edTech to curtail the critical teacher decline, address the disengagement problem, democratise quality education and ‘solve’ the funding conundrum."

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