Atomico

Our investment in Knewton to transform global education, one student at a time

We love working with entrepreneurs who have the ambition to disrupt huge global markets, and it’s hard to think of a more important opportunity than education - a fundamental global good and a $5 trillion market.

For all the amazing tools that have entered universities and classrooms in recent years, education is still fundamentally tied to a one-size-fits-all model. We all know that students vary widely in how they learn, but they’re still taught the same material in the same way, with the same tests and the same homework assignments.

The dream of truly personalised learning is compelling for students, educational institutions, and academic publishers alike – but it’s also a fantastically hard problem for them to solve alone. So today we’re delighted to announce that we’re leading a new funding round to help New York-based Knewton scale its work with the world’s universities, schools and publishers, and make that dream a reality.

Knewton’s team of “Knerds”, led by their visionary founder and CEO Jose Ferreira, has developed an astonishing “Adaptive Learning” infrastructure. Imagine lessons that adapt on-the-fly to the way in which an individual learns, and powerful predictive analytics that help teachers differentiate instruction and understand what each student needs to work on and why.

Knewton is doing all this and more today, and the results are simply outstanding. The company already works with partners from Arizona State University to Pearson and Macmillan, achieving great educational results and starting to build the Knewton brand as a symbol of excellence for students and educators alike.

Given the importance of education across the world, we’re particularly excited about the global opportunity. The company has already started to form partnerships in Europe and Latin America, and we’re looking forward to using our own network and experience of building global companies to help Jose and his team scale to meet their ambitions.

When we announced our most recent fund a few weeks ago, we said how excited we were to work with outstanding founders, particularly outside Silicon Valley, who are building category-leading companies. It’s hard to think of a better example than Jose and the Knewton team, and we’re proud to support them on the journey ahead.