36. RefME

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Founder: Tom Hatton
Founded: March 2014
Website: www.refme.com

Referencing is the bane of many a student’s life – tedious but absolutely vital to get right. Whilst studying at Oxford Brookes, 25-year-old young entrepreneur Tom Hatton found existing tools were often poor quality and difficult to use.

His solution was Startups 100 2015-featured RefME, a free citation app that scans book or journal barcodes and automatically generates an accurate reference. Just two years later – and having grown faster than Twitter – the service is already being used in more than 14,000 institutions around the world across the UK, US, India, Australia and Canada. What seems like a simple concept has taken a lot of work at the backend, with the app having to learn to automate references for any content, no matter how obscure, in over 8,000 styles. In summer last year, the app was named the UK winner of education technology competition EdTech Europe, giving RefMe the chance promote itself at partner events worldwide.

After taking total investment to $5m in 2015, for the next 12 months, Hatton and his 45 employees will focus on driving growth while continuing to refine RefME’s product offering. We’ve also learned about a recent big announcement of its premium products: RefME Plus and RefME Institute. RefME plans to continue to serve the research needs of students globally and enhancing their offering is a critical step towards achieving this goal…

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