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The start of a big adventure in education by Justin Cooke

Oct 20

It was in September 2015 that David Hart and I came together with Simon Phillips and Frank Hyman to form Big Clever Learning. All of us had had huge experience harnessing the exponential power of digital technology to introduce disruptive innovation to sectors as various as broadcasting and publishing. We saw the education sector as the next big challenge.

Catalyst for growth
David and I were keenly aware of the observation by digital guru Mary Meeker that education was one of the last sectors to resist the transformative effects of new technology. Education has just not been impacted on the same scale as other sectors by digital technology. Technology is an enabler but too often it’s experienced as a barrier. We wanted to harness the power of digital, mobile and social technology to help teachers teach and students learn.

Simon and Frank shared the vision of using technology to help teachers and students. In fact, Simon said that the light bulb moment for him was seeing how kids respond so intuitively to tablets and mobiles in the class-room. He reckons there’s going to be a sea change over the next few years as a generation of 4 year olds go through the school system.

Money on the table
Simon and Frank both work at Root Capital, one of Britain’s leading boutique private equity firms. They were able to bring £7m worth of investment capital to Big Clever Learning.

With strategic investment in place, we went on to create a world-class team of creatives, technologists and educationalists – all with first-hand experience of teaching.

We also scrutinised the educational technology market looking for great companies that could grow with more help. To date, we have acquired three unique and pioneering businesses – SherstonKizzu and Digital Theatre. And this is just the start of our journey.

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