Edinburgh-based Gecko Labs has developed a new chat system for universities to help students when deciding which course is right for them. The start-up received £1 million in investment to roll out this chat technology to North America and beyond.
The company has just announced its latest product Gecko Chat which provides university staff with a unified inbox that allows them to manage and respond to conversations happening across their website, Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email without having to be logged in to multiple systems.
“Instant messaging platforms are where students are spending more of their time, and that’s only going to increase with the rise of conversational user interfaces,” Matt Lanham, founder and CEO of Gecko Labs, said. “Managing conversations across multiple networks is a nightmare for staff at the moment, and Gecko Chat fixes that by giving them a single login that allows for conversations to be managed regardless of the network the student chooses.”
Founded in 2012, Gecko Labs is headquartered in Edinburgh and currently employs 20 staff. Gecko provides a range of products that deliver greater efficiency, and improved results throughout the student recruitment process. As part of this funding round Gecko is opening an office in London to allow it to accelerate growth in the UK with a US office expected later in the year.
This round was led by Andrew Weisz, of Weisz Investments, and Tom Singh, founder of the New Look fashion chain. Many of Gecko’s existing investors also took part in the round.
“To date, we have helped our clients capture more than one million enquiries from students and this funding will allow us to continue building further innovative products to support our clients and fuel our growth,” Lanham added.
“Whilst there are hundreds of start-ups focusing on bringing innovation to the classroom, the universities’ back offices have been left behind with ageing software that doesn’t meet the needs of today’s student. Gecko is changing that, building innovative products that meet the real challenges university staff are facing and ultimately giving them the super powers they need to get their jobs done.”
In September 2015, Gecko Labs announced it had received £250,000 in new investment to broaden its product range and create jobs. Funding was led by AngelLab through Andrew Weisz. The London Co-Investment Fund provided additional funding.
Shortly after start-up in 2012, the firm participated in ignite100, one of the UK’s top tech accelerator programmes, and graduated with investment from Northstar Ventures, IP Group and angel investors.
“Gecko Labs has already achieved outstanding success in the UK and the opportunity is there to build on the interest coming in from educational institutes around the world,” investor Tom Singh said.
For Andrew Weisz, the technology’s relevance is its biggest strength. “Their products, particularly the live chat system, are relevant to all universities and colleges and by investing in the company we believe we will be giving Matt and his team the tools they need to grow into new markets,” he said. “With a number of North American and Chinese institutions already working with Gecko Labs, the company will use the funding to continue scaling product sales internationally.”