Young Londoner raises $1m from Innocent smoothie founders and Skype investors to launch education app
Burgess founded Education Apps while he was a student at a prestigious London school aged 17
Thursday 30 January 2014
A 21-year-old has raised $1 million (£600,000) from the founders of Innocent smoothies and an investor in Skype to build an education app that will be “a student’s best friend”.
George Burgess founded company Education Apps aged just 17 while he was still studying at the prestigious west London private school. Burgess developed an app that lets students download educational ebooks and resources after struggling to find any apps to help him revise.
"Not being a developer myself I teamed up with someone abroad," says Burgess. "My teacher caught me emailing this guy in class and when I explained what I was doing he got really excited and started making content for our first app."
Burgess, from Earl’s Court, self-funded the business using money he earned from his lucrative eBay store. The app quickly took off and Burgess brokered deals with the likes of the BBC and publisher Pearson to offer their content through the app.
He continued to run the company while studying at Stanford University in America for 18 months and last year the app was downloaded almost a quarter of a million times.
Today venture capital firm Index Ventures and JamJar Investments, a fund set up by the founders of Innocent smoothies, announced they have invested over $1 million in Burgess’ app, which is being rebranded as Gojimo.
Burgess was introduced to the Innocent Drinks founders after the company’s creative director gave a talk at St Paul’s. "I went to see it and ended up having lunch with the guy," Burgess says.
Jon Wright, one of the three founders of Innocent Drinks, said: “We loved George from the moment we met him. He’s a smart, focused guy and he’s got ambition beyond his years.
"Everybody knows that mobile and digital is hot but we believe the education industry is going to be transformed too."
Index Ventures has previously backed the likes of Skype, Asos and LoveFilm. Burgess is one of the youngest entrepreneurs it has ever backed by the venture capital firm.
The Gojimo app is being re-launched today in partnership with McGraw-Hill Education and Oxford University Press and Burgess said he wants to turn the company into a “global brand”.
"Going forward the exciting thing is what we build around it. We’re looking at ways in which teachers can interact with their students."
Burgess said he was also working on social elements for the platform, such as the ability to add friends and compete against them in quizzes.
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