Having raised over $9M in funding and a nomination at The Europa’s for Best Education Startup, we asked Michal Borkowski, CEO of Brainly to tell us about his journey so far!


Brainly was founded on the idea that if you create a digital learning environment and put
students in charge, they will have the opportunity to learn freely. Under this idea, we’ve
built Brainly to be the world’s largest social learning network. As an extension of the
classroom learning experience, we have connected more than 40M middle and high
school students together to support each others’ educational endeavors, whether to learn
something new, expand an area of passion, or simply get help on homework.

The power of Brainly comes from the students with the site and service acting as a place
for students to interact. They create the content, they control the environment, and they
moderate the service. We are able to do this effectively because we founded Brainly
shortly after we graduated which, since our inception, has kept us close to what students
need.

While in school, I became frustrated with the “one size fits all” approach to education.
Rather than focusing on individual needs and ambitions of young people, the education
system wrote curriculum and taught and tested students as if we were all the same. I knew
there had to be a better way.

The foundation of social learning for Brainly is a strong belief that every student brings
strengths into the education experience for themselves and others. We believe students
should advance in areas they are passionate about and be able to develop areas of
weakness.

When you put students in control of their learning experience, the classroom barriers melt
away and students learn in a way that’s only possible when there is true freedom to ask
and answer questions without prejudice or judgement. We noticed this recently when our
data showed that only about 15% of Brainly users choose to use a real photo, with the
remainder participating anonymously. We also see it in the breakdown of traditional
gender divides. On Brainly males and females answer a similar number of math and
science questions, with females answering slightly more in biology and chemistry.

We see this data come to life with student stories. We were talking to one of our students
from Texas and he said that he was never a popular kid in school because he excelled at
physics not sports. After a few weeks on Brainly, he became a Senior Moderator and was
helping other students with physics problems. Not only did he find a way to use his talent
and develop it, he actually gained a lot of self confidence and managerial skills supervising
and working with his peers.

I want to be clear that Brainly is not a replacement to a classroom experience, we are an
extension of it. Increasingly students are bringing more and more school work home, and
parents and teachers are challenged to keep up with those commitments. This is where
we come in. Once back home, students use Brainly to connect with each other in a
peer-to-peer environment where we encourage engagement by having students share
what they are knowledgeable in.

Today, we are in 35 countries and 12 languages, and truly we are just getting started. At
Brainly, we believe that for students to learn and succeed in their education, they need to
do it together. We’ve created a platform that allows students to get the help the need while
also pushing them to do more to help others. This is the future of education and we’re
excited to be a part of it.

Michał BorkowskiLogo
CEO
Brainly

 

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Jamie Oliver and the YOU-app team are plotting a self-improvement revolution | We catch up with Co-Founders Nelli Lähteenmäki and Nora Rosendahl


YOU-app, our new wellbeing app is gearing up to revolutionize self-improvement. The weapons: micro-actions, positivity, and support.

We all make big resolutions. Eat better, move more, get organised… These resolutions are ambitious, vague, and most of us stumble to fulfil them, coming out feeling worse. In fact, more than 9 out of 10 fail, and the huge self-improvement market, including weight-loss, self-help books, fitness programs etc. is filled with frustrated customers who have learned to expect failure. It’s a market just waiting to be revolutionized.

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Stephen Rapoport talks about his new project,raising £2m Series A and why the coffee market is ripe for disruption.


Running out of coffee at home can be a real pain. I remember waking up one Saturday morning and the coffee jar was empty so I had to go out to a local corner shop and buy a sub-standard, overpriced bag of big-brand coffee. I’d known for a while that coffee tastes better when it is freshly roasted and that coffee in the supermarket has often been sat on the shelves for months going stale.

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Discussion| As Farfetch is valued at $1bn we ask leading entrepreneurs ‘are renewed fears of the UK’s tech sector being overhyped justified?’


As online retailer Farfetch is valued at $1bn we asked ‘are renewed fears of the UK’s tech sector being overhyped justified?’


‘The VC market in Europe is hot right now, but I don’t think it’s out of control. UK tech valuations are still a pittance compared to the Silicon Valley. Farfetch is an impressive business which has grown tremendously in the last 5 years. $90m in revenue and zero EBITA doesn’t justify a $1BN valuation at face value, but it’s all about growth rate (and Farfetch is booming and has investors willing to get behind it at this price). I’ll be watching these guys closely, along with the rest of the sector over the coming 12-18 months. The market is swelling, but it’s not about to burst’

Andrew HunterLogo
Co-founder
Adzuna

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In London Technology Week who better to ask about the future of Transport Ticketing than Ben Whitaker, CEO of Masabi!



We believe that the main theme of the next 10 years of fare collection will be a move away from transit issued media like smartcards and magnetic paper stock, and instead make use of credentials or technology that the passenger already has access to, such as mobiles and contactless bank cards  – characterised as “Bring your own media”.

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The EdTech Europe Summit 2014 is taking place in London today. We took the opportunity to ask a group of leading innovators, ‘What should be the key priorities when it comes to education technology?’


A greater focus on sustainability/profitability. Sharper alignment of technology with actual market need and not just good ideas. Leading to economic as well as functional viability.

Alan Maguire – Partner at Leaf Investments

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Ahead of the EdTech Europe Summit 2014 we asked leading innovators and investors, “What should be the key priorities when it comes to education technology?


 

On 12th June EdTech Europe ,a one day event in London hosted by IBIS Capital and Edxus Group, will bring together leading entrepreneurial innovators and private equity/venture capitalists amongst others.

The e-Learning market is one of the fastest growing sectors(‘Funding for educational tech hit a record high in the first quarter of 2014, when investors put $559m into 103 deals, according to researcher CB Insights’Financial Times June 4th 2014) and we caught up with some of the main players asking them ‘ What should be the key priorities when it comes to education technology?’

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Expanding to London from the USA? In Part 4 of the series Richard Goold examines Data Protection and Intellectual Property



Data Protection (“DP”)

DP in the UK and Europe is a hot topic and 2014 should see the finalisation of a new Regulation implementing major reforms across Europe with even tougher regulation and fines for serious data breaches of as much as 2% of global turnover.  There has also been a proposal from one of the European Parliament committees that this should be increased even further to an eye-watering 5% of global annual turnover.  In the meantime, the current UK legislation remains the Data Protection Act 1988 (“DPA”), enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”).

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Opinion | HotelTonight have raised over $80m since December 2010. We asked Heather Leisman,MD for Europe, for her keys to success?!


 

By Heather Leisman, MD for Europe at HotelTonight

The San Francisco-based company, HotelTonight, was built exclusively for mobile from the ground up. In only three years the app has grown to more than 10 million downloads and 300 destinations worldwide. How does HotelTonight’s “mobile only” business model work?

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Opinion | COO Lloyd Price on how Zesty are transforming access to Healthcare in London!


By Lloyd Price, Co Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Zesty

London is rapidly gaining a reputation as the ‘FinTech” capital of the world as investor appetite for disruptive startups in the financial services market increases beyond Angel and Seed financing rounds to serious multi million dollar Series A and B investment rounds. Payments, money transfer and foreign exchange focused Tech companies are moving fast and positioning themselves as market leaders in multi billion dollar untapped markets with the potential for exponential growth. It’s hard to think there could be even bigger, more lucrative and untapped markets than FinTech right ? Wrong, let me introduce you to one of them, the world of HealthTech …

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