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Ed Tech: Gecko Labs secures £1m in investment

Scottish education software specialist Gecko Labs has secured £1 million to expand its resources and develop new tools, including a ‘live chat’ operation to enhance its student engagement solutions.

Gecko Chat will allow clients to respond to cross-platform student queries, from one base application. Photo: Gecko LabsGecko Chat will allow clients to respond to cross-platform student queries, from one base application. Photo: Gecko Labs

This funding round was led by Weisz Investments and the founder of the New Look fashion chain

The investment aims to increase staff numbers, fund an innovative ‘live chat’ system connecting universities and potential students, and crucially, make steps into the North American markets.

The Chat function has recently been launched, with a number of the 80 worldwide institutions Gecko work with already signed up.

“[We] built a system that is ready for the student of tomorrow”

Gecko Chat will enable university staff to centralise responses to conversations across many online platforms without having to be logged into multiple systems.

Matthew Lanham, Gecko Labs founder and CEO, explained that traditional chat bots can be ineffectual for modern learners.

“Existing live chat systems only work whilst the student is looking at the website, they tend to be a little clunky, especially on mobile [platforms] which is where students are spending most of their time.”

“So we looked at this and built a system that is ready for the student of tomorrow. It has the same functionality you’d expect from a live chat system but takes it a step further by allowing students to use Facebook, Twitter, SMS or email to chat with the university in addition to also allowing them to use the website in a mobile optimised way,” he said.

This funding round was led by Andrew Weisz, of Weisz Investments, and Tom Singh, founder of the New Look fashion chain.

Gecko Labs was founded in 2012 and aims to streamline international student recruitment by harnessing ed tech capabilities via an enquiry management solution, cloud-based call centre software and the new chat function.

With eyes on opening a New York office in 2018, and expanding its staff from 25 employees in 2017 to 50 or more in 2018, this investment is an indicator of a firm on the rise in the burgeoning UK ed tech sector.

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