UK EdTech start-up RefME raises $5m in first year

24-year-old entrepreneur Tom Hatton proves himself one of UK tech's greatest success stories with widespread acclaim.

UK education technology business RefME has raised $5 million of seed funding in its first year, the company has announced.

The free student essay aide is the brainchild of 24-year-old UK entrepreneur Tom Hatton. It helps students to generate citations, reference lists and bibliographies when writing university essays.

It has today secured $4 million of funding from GEMS Education – adding to the $1 million previously raised. The investor claims to be the biggest K-12 education company in the world and is owned by the Varkey Group. 

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The RefME tool has gained more than 1 million users in a year – with new sign-ups averaging around 10,000 per day. This success has seen the business selected by the London Mayor’s Office and UKTI for a trade mission to the US. The business also won best UK mobile start-up at the Mobile World Congress in 2015.

The cash from the latest investment will be put towards further expansion into global markets and consolidating the product offering.

CEO and co-founder Tom Hatton said the aim of the business has always been to address a “time-consuming, but important problem 150 million students face globally”.

“We’ve even been accused of making students’ work too easy; given they now don’t have to spend hours making sure their citations and references are completely accurate,” he said.

The technology allows students to use their smartphones to scan books’ barcodes for cataloguing purposes. Hatton called the evolution of technology “an inspiration” and added it would be “absurd not to embrace new innovation and use it to really improve and aid students in their development”.

Further reading on funding: Laundrapp cleans up with £4m funding round

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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