EdTech Innovator Autology

Online education is gathering hits at an alarming rate as admission fees for university rise and people in remote areas look to study. Autology is hoping to create a consolidation play which will be able to take advantage of this.

To follow on from our maiden Tech Invest event, we’ve profiled some of the most exciting technology companies in the UK.

GrowthBusiness has now produced a new 2014 version of Tech Innovators, where we have again profiled some of the best technology ventures in the UK through interviews with founding entrepreneurs.

Autology

 

Based in: Cheshire

Founded in: 2008

No. of employees: 5

Company founder: Eric Hobson

Founder profile:

Eric Hobson is an experienced CEO, with a blue-chip sales and marketing background with Boots, PZ Cussons and Unilever. In the past ten years he has been a successful entrepreneur in the digital media sector, founding and profitably exiting international mobile technology and entertainment businesses.

Background business profile:

Autology capitalises upon the growth in digital education, by providing users with low-cost, safe, structured access to a vast virtual library of high-quality online education resources spanning e-textbooks, web portals, video, images and interactive lessons. In total, Autology’s virtual ‘library’ indexes, by key stage and subject, more than 500,000 resources.

Inside track:

The education technology space has already proved to be one of the fastest moving and most dynamic sub-sectors during the past two years, and now Autology is carving out its own slice of the market.

The business is building a vast library of content, combining it with smart technology to allow teachers and students to access it.

‘It’s an early-stage market, but has incredible growth of 23 per cent a year worldwide,’ founder Eric Hobson says.

‘Its very fragmented with lots of smaller companies sitting alongside larger companies such as Capita.’

Hobson sees a definite opportunity to roll up some of these smaller companies so is in advanced discussions with businesses which are adjacent to his.

‘It will be merging, most of the businesses we talk to know they have to get to scale. It is about having the cash once they are together to market them properly.’

Autology has already packaged up £2 million of funding from the likes of the North West Regional Growth Fund, JGR Capital and a number of angel investors.

Given that its library has been built in English, the first logical port of call outside of the UK will be the US.

‘The US is interesting as it is at a similar stage to us. Lots is going on with tablet computers, and we hope that some of our relationships with tablet computers will help with that,’ Hobson reveals.

International expansion is now firmly on the cards, provided the requisite funding comes in. Sitting alongside that will be creating a prototype of its auto-assessment technology, which will allow students input and exam type answer and receive a grade back on it.

Recent milestones:

  • Three-year UK distribution deal to embed apps on the tablets destined for schools; forecast revenue £2 million
  • Co-marketing partnership with Microsoft for Windows 8 app
  • Launch of IOS and Android apps in addition to Win 8

Upcoming milestones:

  • International expansion (subject to investment)
  • Auto-assessment technology prototype

Recent technology:

Perpetual worldwide licence to utilise Autonomy Idol within Autology products in the education sector.

Alliances:

  • Microsoft Education
  • eLearning Foundation

Investors:

View all 25 UK technology companies contained within Tech Innovators 2013.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

Related Topics

Edtech