Scottish EdTech firm eyes growth with £1.4m impact investment

Sumdog in use in the classroom

Scottish EdTech firm eyes growth with £1.4m impact investment

Edinburgh-based education technology company Sumdog has set its sights on expanding its services across the UK and USA, having secured £1.4m of funding from Nesta Impact Investments and the Scottish Investment Bank.

Last year, Sumdog’s games-based learning system engaged 3 million children in the UK and the US to improve their attainment in maths and English. With this new investment, the company aims to have helped 15 million children across both countries by 2022.

Sourced jointly from Nesta Impact Investments, a £17.6m impact investment fund supported by Big Society Capital, Omidyar Network and innovation foundation Nesta, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the funding has been secured as Sumdog embarks on a major recruitment drive.

To support its international growth plans, the company is creating jobs at its Edinburgh headquarters and will make senior appointments at its New York office., increasing its total headcount by half over the next 12 months.

The funding provided by Nesta Impact Investments and the Scottish Investment Bank is being made with the intention of generating measurable and positive social impact alongside a financial return.

Sumdog saw a 50% increase in turnover during 2016 and expects to build on significant recent turnover growth during 2017. Today, Sumdog is already regularly used across many UK primary and US elementary schools.

Going forward, the company aims to help more children using its existing product range as well as further deepening its core subject offering in literacy and numeracy to provide teachers and pupils with a comprehensive learning package.

Sumdog CEO Andrew Hall said: “This is a really exciting time for Sumdog as we seek to expand our team to include the specialist skills we will need to achieve our future ambitions. As a high-impact company, our core mission is to close the educational attainment gap by helping all children reach their full potential. By capturing children’s imagination, Sumdog wants to become a world leader in online learning, starting with maths and English but ultimately covering a much broader range of subjects. This £1.4m investment will make a crucial contribution as we strive to meet our objective of helping 15 million children across the UK and the US over the next five years.”

Ishaan Chilkoti, a member of the Nesta Impact Investments team said: “This investment in Sumdog aligns with Nesta Impact Investments’ strategy to invest in innovative approaches and technologies to improve access to high quality education and employment for all. We believe Sumdog has developed a proven platform for online learning. They have shown a clear commitment to achieving social impact and are already reaching large numbers of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, both here in the UK and in the US. We are excited to support them as they embark on ambitious plans for future growth.”

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank said: “Our decision to provide growth funding to Sumdog was based on the company’s innovative approach, commitment to inclusion, international outlook and economic added value – all factors that Scottish businesses need to be able to thrive and grow in the future.  Sumdog is another example of a strong, successful Scottish company to come out of Edinburgh’s tech business hub and is a huge endorsement for Scotland’s position as one of the leading tech hubs in the world.  In addition to investment, Scottish Enterprise has been supporting the company through our account management team in areas such as innovation, R&D and international market development.”