Gojimo raises $1m led by Index Ventures
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Reading through George Burgess’ career history is enough to make many of us feel inadequate.
At the tender age of 15, he was already a power seller on eBay and co-founded a film production business. “I got the bug for starting my own business before I finished school” he explains. And while most of us were counting down our last days at school, at 17 George was already working on his first startup, an app to help students prepare for exams.
With the help of his schoolteacher on the content side and a freelance developer based in Pakistan he started his first apps and tested them out on fellow students.
He then went onto Stanford University in California, but like many other founders before him George dropped out after just 18 months to focus on his startup.
Now 21 years old, George has become one of the youngest founders to be backed by Index Ventures, raising $1m of seed funding to launch his new education platform called Gojimo.
“At school I was inspired by the entrepreneurial success behind the Innocent Drinks company” George added, and subsequently the three co-founders behind Innocent have also invested in his startup alongside Index.
Creating education apps while still at school
Gojimo shares offices with Songkick, one of the Silicon Roundabout’s more established startups. Since the investment the team’s grown to 5 full time members of staff, all based in their London office.
George explained the idea behind the name Gojimo came from a branding agency. The ‘goji’ part represents the goji berry superfood and the ‘mo’ associates the brand with mobile.
Working with existing publishers
Their previous apps (released under the previous EducationApps brand) include the BBC Bitesize revision guides, which were co-produced between the BBC and Pearson publishing. “Once you sign up one of the big publishers the rest tend to want to follow” says George.
The new Gojimo app is free to download on iOS and now boasts content from some of the world’s biggest academic publishers including McGraw-Hill and Oxford University Press.
Their main source of revenue will be in-app purchases of textbooks and revision guides.
Gamifying the learning process
A later version will also allow teachers to track student progress, send assignments and even issue quizzes in the classroom.
Apple launched their own e-learning platform back in 2012 to a lot of fanfare, but so far has yet to deliver much in the way of traction.
George claims his team have learned from iTextbooks’ mistakes by shunning often clunky interactive gimmicks and focussing on gamifying the learning process through quizzes and challenges between friends.
Throughout 2014 the team plan to add more functionality to the app and ambitiously aim to sign up all of Britain’s major publishers.
When I asked George if he plans to complete his studies at Stanford his reply was simple: “I doubt it”.