Edtech Startups 100 alumnus secures major new funding

Atom Learning breaks record for largest ever UK edtech Series A funding round

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After featuring in last year’s Startups 100 (and ranking in 2019 too), trailblazing edtech startup Atom Learning continues to go from strength to strength.

The latest milestone is securing $25m (£18.9m) in Series A funding – the largest amount ever raised by a UK edtech in Series A funding.

Here, we take a closer look at Atom, where its new funding is coming from, and the company’s plans for the future.

What is Atom Learning?

Atom Learning wants to revolutionise primary school teaching by offering an online platform that ties together school tuition and at-home learning in a thoroughly 21st century way.

All the content is produced by teachers and leading educators, and the platform uses AI to ensure that every child has their own learning journey that’s tailored to their strengths and weaknesses.

Just as importantly, Atom makes learning fun, with bright, colourful graphics and a focus on interactivity that means it can tear children away from playing mobile games on their smartphones.

For schools, Atom offers Atom Prime, a free service that helps teachers plan their teaching, produce engaging lesson plans and easily administer progress assessments. The data-driven approach also means teachers can see which students are falling behind in which areas, and act accordingly.

At home, Atom Nucleus is a subscription service that aims to take on what Atom calls the “unregulated, expensive and inconsistent” world of private tuition. Through exercises and live lessons – that can also be viewed on demand – Nucleus gives children a bespoke experience that’s engaging and adapts to their learning.

Who has invested in Atom Learning?

Atom’s record-breaking funding round was led by Japanese venture capital powerhouse SoftBank, which invested through its Vision Fund 2. This fund specialises in growth capital and social impact investments, which makes it a great fit for Atom.

Commenting on the investment, Yanni Pipilis, Managing Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, said:

“The utilisation of edtech and adaptive learning within established curricula has accelerated rapidly both in school and the home.

“We’re excited to partner with the [Atom] team in its vision to improve learning outcomes for every student.”

What’s next for Atom Learning?

It’s already achieved a lot but Atom has grand ambitions for the future.

With this investment, the company wants to double its headcount over the next 12 months, with co-founder Jake O’Keefe saying that he wants “to bring the very best people to the UK’s fastest growing edtech company”.

The goal is to be in every UK primary school. Atom is currently used by more than 250,000 students across 5,000 schools but needs to hire more to grow further.

The other big target is international expansion, with the US first on the list. Atom plans to launch across the pond in 2022, the first big test for whether its pioneering model can scale internationally.

If it can, then the sky really is the limit for Atom Learning.

Written by:
Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.

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