People’s Champion Finalist: Pobble
Meet the Startups Awards People's Chamption contender with real ambitions of improving children’s literacy worldwide through its unique online platform
Start-up name: Pobble
Founders: Jonathan Smith, Henry Smith, Simon Blower, Tom Garbutt
Started in: 2013
Based in: London
Business description: Online platform in which children can have their writing critiqued by a global audience
The LendMeYourLiteracy story:
Like some of the best businesses, Pobble (formerly known as LendMeYourLiteracy) started life as the expression of a personal passion. Three of the founders were teachers who recognised the unique power children’s own writing can have as a teaching tool, and started a blog to showcase examples of it for use by other teachers. This unorthodox but highly effective learning method soon caught on, and before long the site had gained truly viral popularity.
In 2013, the teaching trio decided the site could work as a viable business, and launched Pobble proper; an online educational platform where children can write for a truly global audience, receiving feedback and encouragement from around the world and using it to develop their skills. The site is completely free to use, with the business generating revenue through a smart two-pronged business model in which Pobble runs creative writing workshops and sessions in schools and sells an online portfolio product to institutions.
With online users doubling every quarter and revenue starting to take off, it’s a model that appears to be working so far. Feedback on the concept has been unanimously excellent – a poll of Pobble’s paying customers found that 100% of participants agreed that their children’s motivation has been positively impacted by the programme.
As you might expect, a business with the power to do so much for children’s literacy didn’t escape the attention of industry bodies for long – Pobble has picked up an array of prestigious gongs, amongst them the Best Digital Award for London and South East England, the People’s Choice award in the London Business School Business Plan competition and a place in the EMEA Finals for the Global Social Venture Competition 2014. Investors on Crowdcube recently scrambled to get a piece of the action, too – Pobble ended up raising £170,000 in 20 days in an overfunded pitch on the site.
Why Pobble made our 50:
Not only does this business have excellent growth and a strong revenue model, it also has the potential to genuinely impact children’s literacy skills worldwide.