London-based Uptime, creators of a free app that presents five-minute summaries of books, courses, and documentaries, has raised a $16 million seed round to bring its platform to more users globally.
The edtech startup is competing in a niche known as ‘microlearning’; the most well-known European player is likely Berlin’s Blinkist, which breaks down books into bite-size pieces. But Uptime is applying the concept to multiple mediums and presenting the information in a visual way.
The app uses a combination of machine learning and human curation to identify top-notch books, courses, and documentaries. The key points are made into a visual story, with “shareable snippets” in a mix of text, photo, video, audio and animation. At the end of each Hack, the user has the option to buy the book, watch the full documentary or sign up for the course from the original source. In this way Uptime creates an additional distribution channel for authors and content creators.
The founders are no strangers to tech: serial entrepreneurs Jamie True and Jack Bekhor (formerly LifeWorks, acquired in 2018 for $325 million) joined with former YouTube and Facebook executive Patrick Walker to start Uptime. The seed funding came from the founders and some investors, including former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy, entrepreneur and chairman of N Brown, Lord Alliance and Federal Street SPV. It will be used to continue product development, add more content to the app and help expansion into global markets.
Photo: Founders Jamie True, Patrick Walker and Jack Bekhor