Matr raises £4.75 million for AI teaching platform
Matr, the online teaching platform, has announced it has closed a £4.75 million Series A investment round led by the UCL Technology Fund and Downing Ventures, with follow on investment from Ananda and innovation charity Nesta, and Sherry Coutu joining as an angel investor. The company has now raised £8.25 million in funding.
Following an initial focus on providing online teaching to support children in UK schools, via the company’s Third Space Learning brand, the new investment will be focused on developing the Matr platform to support families at home, catering to a global teaching and student base.
The UCL Technology Fund is managed by Albion Capital in collaboration with UCL Business and is dedicated to bringing UCL’s world-class research in life and physical sciences to commercial reality. Matr is the fifth AI business the fund has invested in to date.
Matr, founded by Tom Hooper in 2013, is an online teaching company which uses technology to train academic talent from around the world to deliver live, online tuition, making effective one-to-one learning affordable and accessible to all. The platform has already delivered over 500,000 one-to-one sessions to nearly 40,000 children across the UK from tutors based in India and Sri Lanka.
In addition to the current round of funding, Matr has also announced a research and qualification partnership with UCL. Working with Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design at UCL and an expert in AI in education, Matr is using its database of over 500,000 recordings of online teaching sessions to develop AI software to automate the training and development of a global community of online teachers. Using this innovation, UCL is aiming to develop a qualification, powered by analytics in the Matr platform, to establish a global standard in online teaching.
Professor Luckin, who believes AI provides a unique opportunity to assess which teaching strategies are working and to individualise teaching, says: “What we are very interested in is using the right blend of human and artificial intelligence in the online classroom to identify the sweet spot where AI can augment the abilities of an online human teacher.”
David Grimm, manager of the UCL Technology Fund at Albion Capital, says: “Matr has the potential, in collaboration with UCL, to set the standard for online teaching and achieve traction in global tutoring markets. Its plans to build an efficient AI system and use it to certify its teachers with a UCL qualification will set it apart in this unregulated market. This is an excellent opportunity to invest in a strong team, with a proven and clearly differentiated business model.”
Tom Hooper, Founder and CEO, Matr, says: “For the last four years we’ve worked really hard to demonstrate our global ambitions, delivering hundreds of thousands of hours of teaching from our global teaching community to tens of thousands of children. By partnering with new investors, and some of the world’s leading Learning Scientists at UCL, we are well positioned to accelerate our vision of creating a global community of online teachers and students, making effective one-to-one learning accessible to all.”
Richard Lewis, Investment Director, Downing Ventures, says: “We are delighted to join the Albion UCL Technology Fund, Ananda Ventures and Nesta in this funding round. Matr has grown into the leading provider of online maths intervention programmes for Key Stage 2 pupils and we look forward to supporting the team as they expand their business further.”
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Notes to editor
For more information on Matr please visit https://matr.org/.
UCL Technology Fund
The UCL Technology Fund is dedicated to investing in intellectual property commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, focusing in particular on the physical and life sciences. The Fund supports UCL in achieving the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact, right through the development journey from initial proof of concept to practical commercial application.
The Fund is managed by Albion Capital, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK, in collaboration with UCL Business. For further information please visit: www.ucltf.co.uk
Albion Capital is a leading independent investment manager with a long-term record of partnering ambitious business. The Albion Group has funds of just over £1 billion under investment management or administration and has increasingly focussed on technology, specifically software and tech enabled services. Four Albion companies are presented in the latest Sunday Times Tech Track 100.
Albion Capital Group LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Downing Ventures is an evergreen fund investing in seed to Series A companies, with the possibility of follow-on investments. We invest in a variety of technology sectors including consumer internet and mobile, enterprise software, defence and security technology, financial technology and health technology. We have a portfolio of 45 companies as of March 2018. We work alongside a number of investment partners and accelerator programmes and incubators, including the London Co-Investment Fund.
ABOUT DOWNING LLP
Downing Ventures is a division of Downing LLP, a London-based investment management firm. We help UK businesses grow by investing in them via our range of venture capital trusts (VCT), enterprise investment schemes (EIS), inheritance tax (IHT), individual savings account (ISA) and open-ended investment company (OEIC) products. So far, over 35,000 investors have been a part of what we do and we are proud to have raised over £1.7 billion into businesses across a range of sectors, from renewable energy, care homes, health clubs, and children’s nurseries, to technology and sports nutrition.