A British education technology startup called Flooved just raised its first significant round of funding from angel investors.
Flooved positions itself as a “Spotify for textbooks,” with a repository of extracts from academic textbooks. Students can browse this content or opt to upload and share their own notes, adding to the growing database of information. Unlike Spotify, most of the content is free, but the company will likely make its money by charging students for premium access in the future.
Flooved is attempting to “disrupt” the academic publishing market. Most students spend hundreds of dollars each semester on buying new textbooks and then attempt to resell them. The value of these textbooks depreciates quickly, as publishers regularly release newer versions.
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Cofounders Hamish Brocklebank and Nicolas Philippe started the company two years ago, as they didn’t believe that students should have to pay for academic content.
Philippe and Brocklebank told me in an interview they formed the idea when out drinking at the pub one night in London. The founders have been friends for eight years, since they attended university together.
“We felt that students deserved better, and that there was no good reason why they still had to pay a small fortune to access textbooks and educational resources in the age of the Internet,” said Brocklebank.
Brocklebank declined to disclose the funding amount — or even the ballpark range — which is fairly uncommon. However, Brocklebank did tell me that it will give the team of seven employees about nine months of runway, so it is likely a modest sum. The founders will use this funding to invest in technical and product development.
They did reveal that the funding was raised from a few high net worth individuals, who believe in the vision. Flooved counts Stephan Shakespeare, founder of political research firm YouGov, and Lord Michael Ashcroft, one of the U.K.’s wealthiest businessmen, among its investors. This company did reveal that it raised $600,000 in seed funding in January.
In the past nine months, Flooved has grown its user-base to 36,000 students. It is working with five universities for its trial program. Unlike chief competitor Boundless, Flooved plans to market directly to students, and is working closely with professors to integrate its resources and texts with universities’ existing online systems.
The company is one of six startups accepted into the BBC Worldwide Labs initiative, an accelerator program that gives the company free office space and mentorship.
Flooved is primarily focused on the U.K. market for now, but the founders plan to raise strategic money in the U.S. from one of the leading venture capital firms.