Melon, a London-based, Sweden-born microlearning startup that aims to provide upskilling tuition packaged as a social media-style feed that curates relevant content, has just raised £1.2 million in pre-seed funds led by early-stage VC Peak.
The round's also backed by Nordic venture fund Inventure. Antler, and additional investors including the CMNTY.XYZ founders community pioneer Siduri Poli, Google app development growth honcho Samarth Sharma and founders business coach Cecilia Bratt.
Melon will use the pre-seed cash to launch a recruitment drive, while also building on its software platform and outreach activities, aimed at ambitious GenZ employees eager to improve their career chances through peer-to-peer learning.
With its upskilling platform, Melon has ported over social media ethos with machine learning used to aggregate learning content curated by the users (which can be posted from any third-party source), enabling learners to take note of what worked for their friends and experts in their field.
Once posted on the platform, upskilling content is "resurfaced" by the machine learning technology at regular intervals, helping the user take key learnings on board.
But she's settled into London's bustling tech ecosystem for the new venture, having scored a 1st-class Master's degree in computer science and machine learning from University College London a couple of years back.
Fouquet's business case for Melon caters to a workforce that's projected to be 30% Gen-Z by the middle of this decade, a generation well versed with scrolling through LinkedIn, TikTok and Youtube for inspiration. And just 54% of this group are convinced their formal education has set them up for success.
Job hopping is also common - Melon provides figures suggesting two years is considered a long time to stay in a role, versus eight years for the 'boomer' generation.
In a press statement sent to Tech.eu, Fouquet said: "We spend hours per day scrolling & micro-learning on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, but once we find something valuable we often forget about it or lose it in a pile of screenshots.
"Our brain needs to revisit what we learn over time - this strengthens our memory and improves our brain's ability to recall information. Melon is leveraging machine learning and scientific methods such as active recall to turn insights saved at Melon into long-term knowledge - and to ensure that our users get the most out of their time scrolling social media.”
As for the Melon platform, the team's still carrying out closed beta testing just now, relying on an OTA app testing platform for Apple handset owners called TestFlight. The target market for this test is graphic designers, and Melon says it has a "strong" community of beta users who've crafted its development plans.
Even before the product's been launched, Fouquet and her colleagues are mapping out new features. One big add for a future update is the ability to let upskilling curators monetise "taste-making", adding to the consumer influencer vibes.