The internet is the single greatest educational resource ever created, but it is still challenging to search and get accurate results that result in learning. Between clickbait, biased sites, and poorly sourced material, the self educators who rely on Google search for need to add a layer of curation to direct their educational. Knowledge Officer is the app helps you identify and expand your educational horizons, filtering out clickbait, and poorly sourced sites so that you create a customized and curated path to learn on the internet . without going down a rabbit hole. Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge to help you succeed in the workplace or satisfy your intellectual curiosity, KnowledgeOfficer work for you using machine learning to provide relevant context to the content on the internet. The company has 1K users on its MVP and has just launched its full product, looking to make a mark on EdTech by changing the way we learn on the internet.
London TechWatch chatted with cofounder Ahmed El-Sharkasy about the company and its latest round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised a Seed round of £600K was led by Abdullah AlShaheen (a famous Kuwaiti investor and the ambassador of the Tahya Misr Fund) with the participation of Ian Hurlock (previously a VP at Fox Interactive Media).
Tell us about your product or service.
UK (and many countries in Europe) are suffering from a huge skills gap problem especially in the tech sector. This problem is getting even worse and our company, Knowledge Officer is the solution to that. We create personalized, dynamic and evolving learning paths for professionals to learn based on their career goals. Knowledge Officer is a London-based startup with a mission to organize the world’s knowledge and add “context” to “content”. We build personalized and dynamic learning paths that help professionals achieve their dream career goal.
The journey starts when you decide whom you are aspiring to be. By choosing your hot topics of interest and your current level of knowledge in each, we give you a personalized learning path, curated from top resources. Along your journey, you’re challenged with engaging quizzes to assess your learning progress and help you fill any gaps. The more you learn, the more learning credits you earn.
What inspired you to start the company?
We see the world is shifting into discovery and recommendation more than search. You open Netflix and watch the recommended films, you do the same with Spotify to listen to the best relevant music and even with Amazon, people are discovering items that they even did not know they want to buy! And as you don’t know what you don’t know, we want our product to serve the future of recommendation and discovery in education and learning! You just tell us more about yourself and what are your career goals, and we take you on the best and most engaging learning experience step by step. You don’t want to go to a MOOC to search for courses because you probably don’t know what you need to search for.
How is it different?
We are the first to talk about the idea of filtering clickbait (in the context of knowledge and not news) and building a machine learning model to help people cut through the noise. We are also “curating” content while the rest are “creating” their own content which we believe won’t scale as fast as us. These solutions are good if you know what you don’t know. Our product helps you reveal the unknown and answer the question of “What should I learn today” based on your profile and goals. We are the first to talk about the idea of personalized and also goal-oriented learning recommendation based on career goals. The rest are generally “Learning” platforms: learn how to code, learn new skills, etc. While learning for us is a vital step to be prepared for the market based on your role and career ambition. Learning is a means to a specified end.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Our main focus currently is on the UK & US, but we believe there is a strong potential in Egypt and India as well, so we don’t want to lose sight of them.
What’s your business model?
A mix of a freemium model for users and premium model for SMEs.
What was the funding process like?
I have to say it was not easy at all. Being an immigrant who have lived only 3 years in London, and with limited connections, it was hard to reach the right people at the beginning. My journey with Onfido and also the EF program helped a lot to expand my network, but still, I had to do more than 30-40 pitches over email, meetings, phone to get to find the right investors who are interested in what we do.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We faced the same challenge every Edtech startup is facing raising funding. Edtech startups deserve more attention and trust from investors worldwide than they actually get.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are hoping to use this round to build and grow the team and achieve product-market fit.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
We have bootstrapped the company for over a year. There is a lot you can do without capital. Raising funding is not by any means the hardest thing about building a startup. Work on your idea, validate it with customers and come up with some good traction to prove your model and investors will come and knock on your door.