Atom Learning: Jake O’Keeffe and Alex Hatvany
Names of founders: Jake O’Keeffe and Alex Hatvany
Date Launched: September 2018
Number of employees: 17
Age of founders: 27
Which university, if any, did you attend? University of Oxford
We're going back to school with a startup set to shakeup the education sector. Making quality tutoring accessible and affordable via an innovative digital platform, Atom Learning is teaching us a business lesson or two, read on for the full Q&A here:
Tell us what your business does:
Atom Learning is an online adaptive learning platform for students aged between 7-12 that combines high quality, teacher-made content with sophisticated technology to keep students on their optimal learning paths.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
We were frustrated by the inequality in education provision that results from the private tuition market: private tutors are unaffordable for the majority of people and the quality varies significantly.
We realised that the only way to resolve this was through a fully automated solution that standardised the quality and could operate at sufficient scale to be affordable to all.
How did you know there was a market for it?
From tutoring ourselves we knew there was significant demand for a resource that could provide a high standard of quality for a fraction of the price of a private tutor.
What were you doing before starting up?
Jake was working in finance and Alex was a lawyer.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
It became clear quickly into our respectively brief forays into the corporate world that we would prefer to run our own company.
How did you raise the money?
We bootstrapped the build and have been profitable from launch.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
We charge a monthly subscription.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Initial challenges were building high quality tech and significant teaching/testing content at the same time with a small team; now challenges are mostly to do with hiring great people.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Signing up our first school was key – it gave us credibility with surrounding schools and from there the growth has been exponential.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Everything takes longer than you think – don’t give up!
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to be a global online learning platform for students aged 7-18.