Meet the fast-growing UK start-ups improving education

Startups.co.uk's Startups 100 2016 index celebrates four early-stage businesses disrupting the education sector

Much like the UK’s financial technology darling, education technology is taking off in the UK with a host of innovative and exciting edtech start-ups launching to shake-up and improve the education sector, with great results.

Independent business resource Startups.co.uk has published its annual Startups 100 2016 index of the UK’s top 100 new businesses set for explosive growth and edtech featured among the most popular sectors.

Running for its seventh year, the Startups 100 index identifies privately-owned UK companies launched on or after 1 January 2013 which demonstrate innovation, solid financials, economic impact and the ability to scale.

 From top, clockwise: RefMe’s Tom Hatton, Pobble’s Simon Blower and SCHOOP’S Chris Hamblin & Paul Smith

Among these 100 fast-growing start-ups, the index recognised four edtech start-ups that are going out of their way to change the face of the education system for the better. These are…

Pobble

A resource to help teachers inspire young writers, London-based Pobble is a truly inspirational social company on a mission to create a more literate world.

Founded in 2013, Pobble offers a database of real examples of children’s writing that teachers can use in their classrooms. The site has over 50,000 pieces of handwritten work available to access and view from anywhere in the world for free, with the audience able to share comments and feedback to help encourage their peers.

The business recently closed £900,000 investment through a number of significant angels in the education industry.

SCHOOP

Cardiff-based SCHOOP has created a clever app which engages families in the education of their children.

A multilingual, online communication platform, it gives teachers a way to tell parents about what their children have been learning in school. The company claims that, because children are aware that there is now a direct line between parent and teacher, they perform and behave better and are more likely to ask for help when needed. 350 UK schools have signed up so far.

RefME

Making life easier for students everywhere, RefME is a tool which scans book or journal barcodes and then automatically generates references and citations in over 8,000 styles.

Founded by graduate Tom Hatton and based in London, the start-up achieved faster growth than Twitter in its first year and is being used by more than 14,000 education institutions in the UK, US, India, Australia and Canada.

Since launch in March 2014, RefME has secured $5m in investment and grown to a team of 45 employees.

UniQuest

UniQuest works with universities to increase their enrolment-driven tuition fee revenue.

Using 30 years’ experience in higher education, founders Rachel Fletcher and Natalie Letcher have built a customisable management service which is helping 10 institutions including the University of the West of England and Teeside University to increase their tuition fee revenues.

The platform also includes a responsive service for prospective students and simple data forms for universities to convert applicants and offer holders.

Lucy Wayment, editor of Startups.co.uk, commented: “Education technology is one of the fastest growing tech sectors in Britain and is worth £45bn globally, with estimates that it will grow to £129bn by 2020.

“These four start-ups – Pobble, SCHOOP, RefME, and Uniquest – are offering up new solutions for the UK’s ever evolving education sector and it’s not surprising that their success to date has seen them celebrated in the prestigious Startups 100 2016 index.

“The tools, apps, and resources they have created offer a window into the future of education, watch this space!”

Read the Startups 100 2016 index in full here.

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