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From Alex Hatvany, co-founder of Atom Learning, the UK’s largest KS2 edtech platform 

Atom Learning is the UK’s largest edtech platform for Key Stage 2 students. Founded in 2018 by Alex Hatvany and Jake O’Keeffe, the platform helps over 90,000 primary school children improve their learning and prepare for secondary school entrance exams.

After bootstrapping for over 3 years, Atom raised $25 million from SoftBank at the end of 2021 – the largest Series A round ever secured by a UK-based edtech platform. Here, Alex explains four of the most important things Edtech founders should focus on during the early stages of building their startup.

Get the learning resources right first time

 

High-quality learning resources should be the cornerstone of your edtech product. It doesn’t matter how flashy your brand is or how slick your marketing; if your education resources aren’t world class and expert-backed, your startup will struggle.

Build your product around evidence-based teaching and theory. We harnessed the expertise of teachers across the UK and over time have created a bank of over 90,000 teacher-written questions for pupils to use.

Edtech is constantly changing – stay on top of new developments in your sector by constantly re-investing back into the development of your resources to ensure that your content and product are watertight.

Whilst your resources will iterate and evolve over time, starting strong is imperative.

Listen to the experts

Turn to the experts in your field for reliable insights and feedback on what you’re building. Work in partnership with schools, researchers, and education and exam board members to assess what needs creating within your business and what needs refining. Constant feedback is key.

Keep an ear to the ground for announcements across all areas of the wider EdTech sector, from investment news all the way to expansion. The additional expertise and insight that comes from edtech VCs, policymakers and education forums can help you to predict changes that you may need to hedge, and opportunities you could capitalise on.

Atom Learning Team

Tailor your product to different learning groups

In education, there’s no set formula that works for everyone. Factor in the needs of different educational groups and work at making your product accessible to a range of learners. Start by familiarising yourself with how schooling, tutoring, and revision environments operate and use the best, most effective bits as your blueprint.

There’s a difference between providing educational assistance to different learning groups, and providing a nurturing environment where each type of learner can thrive. By conducting due diligence on different learners, you can make sure that your product falls into the latter category for multiple student groups.

Whilst there’s still a lot to be done to support marginalised learning groups, particularly homeschooled, disadvantaged and SEND students (children with special educational needs and/or disabilities), the best designed EdTech platforms can help these under-supported learning groups to access the support they need and deserve.

Make the most of all stakeholders

Education doesn’t just concern students and teachers – consider all stakeholders to really set up for success. Important figures and influences can also include peers, parents, headteachers, tutors and grandparents, to name but a few.

Take the time to listen to students’ different support networks (during and outside of school hours) as they can often be great sources of feedback and inspiration. Equally, don’t forget to form connections with external stakeholders such as local authorities, community groups and SENDCOs (special educational needs and/or disabilities coordinators).

Your connections with different stakeholders will serve as sounding boards to determine how successful and long-lasting your startup will be.