New Yorker who moved to London to set up educational video hub Mobento, closes one of Tech City's largest recorded first-rounds of funding
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- Jun 20, 2013 -- Technology start-up Mobento, an online educational video hub, has just closed GBP 1.1m of seed round funding, one of the largest recorded amounts raised by a UK-based technology company for its initial funding round, to date.
The founder of Mobento, Sumner Murphy, moved from New York to London last year to set up the company, attracted by London's lively technology start up environment and the City's access to global markets.
Mobento is leading the worldwide charge to bring the educational technology up to speed with the advances made elsewhere in business, social networks and mobile.
To achieve this Mobento has developed a video learning environment that blends highly innovative technology with a zealous commitment to high quality content.
This is why Mobento describes its video learning offering as a "balance between content and technology."
A curated library of best-in-class educational videos is at the heart of the Mobento service. This is made available to schools and students through a web site and a growing family of mobile apps. This means students, educators and the knowledge hungry can access the very best of learning from world-renown educators wherever they are - even on the move.
But it's the alignment of this curated content with a series of technology innovations that has really caught the attention of the academic and investment community.
Mobento Search, for example, allows users to search the entire archive of content for the words that were spoken. This leads to an extraordinary amount of time-saving plus more efficient and fun learning (the two are closely aligned). Using Mobento Search, a student might type in the word 'Enzymes' and find a set of lectures and videos from Yale, TED, Khan Academy and Bozman Science where speakers mention the word.
Even better, they can also go straight to the moment in the video timeline where the speaker uses the word. In a two hour lecture where only five minutes might be of relevance the value of time-saved (and concentration-maintained!) is incalculable.
It's not only at the level of the learner that Mobento's technology is in demand. The company licences its technology platform to organisations that need fast, flexible and easy to use services to archive and distribute their own in-house video libraries.
This has brought customers to Mobento who are not just in traditional education but also in new and growing areas. One such organisation is iHeed, a leading body for promoting innovation in health education. iHeed has launched a library of health education videos to help tackle health issues in developing countries. iHeed now makes its library available via Mobento's Android app and its website. Mobento's spoken word search allow community health workers in the field find relevant content, from hundreds of hours of video, in time critical situations where mobile data bandwidth is limited.
Sumner Murphy, founder of Mobento comments, "Video is an incredibly powerful tool in education. It slots right into the behaviour and customs of contemporary students and it is a democratising and liberating force within education because it enables the world's best educators to reach out to students all over the world."
The investors are classic angel investors - a small consortium of businessmen and high net worth individuals who follow the London Tech City "start up scene", see an awful lot of companies and recognised the potential of Mobento's balanced approach.
Speaking about the balance of technology and content Murphy said: "We're bringing a two-pronged solution to learning. First, we are dealing with the huge amount of dross out there by making sure we only allow the very finest content into the Mobento library. This means you can be absolutely certain that you will always and only find high quality teaching at Mobento.
"The second prong is the technology. Even with our zealous curation of great content we know students benefit from help to find precisely the right content, the first time, in no time. That's where Mobento Search and other technologies make a huge difference."
Benjamin Southworth, Deputy CEO of Tech City comments, "Mobento's decision to base themselves here is further proof that Tech City is the ideal location to scale and grow a successful digital business. Quick access to Europe and our heritage of creativity and innovation make London attractive for digital media and tech companies. Whilst the blend of creativity and innovation that exists in East London with easy access to the financial centre of the City is also a major advantage. It is this thriving ecosystem made up of start-ups, small companies, academic organisations, investors and large corporates that has made Tech City the digital capital of Europe."
Notes to Editors
What is Mobento?
Mobento is a video-learning platform. It's a resource for students, teachers, academics and people who are curious about life, who want access to high quality academic videos and a discussion around these videos.
Mobento will be a home for innovation in elearning. Mobento Search is an example of this.
The name Mobento?
Murphy says: "It doesn't mean anything. We need a name. It sounded nice."