Posted on January 28, 2019 by staff

VCs back tech built by GCSE students with £5m


Firefly, a suite of school learning tools used in 40 countries and first developed by co-founders Simon Hay and Joe Mathewson while preparing for their GCSEs, has secured £5 million VC funding.

London-based Firefly says its tools can cut school administration by 50 per cent and connect teachers, students and parents to share lesson plans and assign and review homework directly, both in and out of the classroom.

Today it supports more than a million students, teachers and parents in 40 countries and holds a market-leading position in UK independent senior schools, where it is used by more than 50 per cent of students.

The idea for the technology was first created by Hay and Mathewson back in 1999 when they themselves were still at school. The technology was quickly adopted by several schools and the duo established the venture as a full-time business in 2009.

The new funding round, from Downing Ventures, BGF and Beringea, will help Firefly extend its global expansion while further developing its strong presence in UK independent and state schools. It brings the firm’s total investment to £10m.

“At Firefly, our ambition is to supercharge the school experience, so every student can reach their potential. This investment will enable us to move more quickly towards empowering teachers, students and parents, adding to the hundreds of thousands using the tool every day,” said Hay.

“Downing’s experience in the EdTech sector caught our interest, as well as its work with other fast-growing companies that make a difference, and we’re looking forward to working with James and the Downing team on our own expansion plans.

“BGF and Beringea have been fantastic partners over the past couple of years, and we’re delighted that they’re also doubling down to further support this next stage of growth.”

Firefly plans to invest £3m in research and development to further diversify its suite of products. This will include the launch of new tools to help teachers and leadership teams save time and improve student outcomes, such as giving teachers, management and parents a real-time view on student progress.

Additionally, the business will look to strengthen its team and plans to create 20 new jobs over the next year, while also building even more partnerships and integrations with other EdTech products.