In a digital world of distractions from Facebook to Netflix, it’s easy to forget to develop your mind. But keeping pace with technology and a changing world and economy demands mental acuity and flexibility. Lifelong learning will give you an edge not only in the job market, but give you a sense of accomplishment and make you more creative.
Albert Einstein said:
“Never regard study as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later works belong.”
So what’s stopping you?
Here are 10 European startups that will help you learn history, prevent dementia, solve global challenges in teams, be a better lover, organise your knowledge, and learn new languages or IT skills, to keep you sharp and ready for the challenges the future holds.
Chronas is an innovative platform where you can learn about history and geography at the same time. Its clickable map contains over 50 million interconnected data points spanning 4,000 years, dividing the planet into regions that can be sorted based on religion, cultures, or rulers, by year. For example, you can select the year 100 AD and “Religion”, and the site will display a map showing the different versions of shamanism throughout Europe and Africa, the prominence of Hellenism throughout the Roman Empire, the emergence of Christianity in the Levant, Zoroastrianism’s dominance in Persia, and the mixture of Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Jainism on the Indian subcontinent. The site features a sidebar with a timeline, relevant Wikipedia articles, and links to other media such as documentaries. Chronas was founded by two developers based in Antwerp in 2018.
Based in Barcelona and founded in 2017, BeChallenge’s mission is to transform the world’s problems into challenges. On its challenge-based collaborative learning platform, teachers can organise classes, materials, and create lessons for students. For a typical lesson, the teacher divides a class into teams of four, sets a learning objective or task, and supplies online materials. The teams then work independently on the task to produce an answer or solution, and at the end of the challenge, they vote to award a prize to the team with the best answer, while giving each other feedback. The platform saves students’ work, manages the voting across teams, and retains teacher comments and evaluations.
Based in Prague, Brainio is a platform for building lifelong knowledge. It helps you to work visually by combining the power of mind maps and notes. In this way it helps you to keep your knowledge structured, and to become an expert in the subjects you are learning by recommending you online content via its AI algorithms. The platform also helps to keep you focused, and share your knowledge and collaborate with others in real time. Just founded in 2018, the website is still in beta.
Cerebrum Matter is a Manchester-based startup seeking to promote healthy ageing and to prevent or at least mitigate symptoms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Its main product, COSMA, works by stimulating the brain through a series of modules which includes a mix of games (e.g. exercises and puzzles) and activities (e.g. meditation and concentration exercises) aimed at treating the early symptoms of dementia. Cerebrum Matters is currently organizing clinical trials to establish the efficacy of COSMA.
Who said learning can’t be fun? Beducated offers online classes designed to give you more “*WOW* between the sheets”. The founders created Beducated “because sexual education on the internet was… dodgy… to say the least. If you wanted to learn something about sex and relationships, you had to filter out a lot of garbage: pills that make your penis bigger (they don’t!), scammy dating advice, or embarrassed teachers putting condoms on bananas”. Beducated is based in Munich and offers specialised classes for Ladies, Gents, Couples, Tantra, Queer, and Massage.
Language learning has all sorts of benefits, from actually making you smarter to opening up whole new worlds and cultures. Langu connects students and teachers from around the world for live, online language lessons. Students can search the Langu website by language, schedule, or level. To find the right teacher, students can also search by specialty (learning for Life, Career, or Education). After selecting a teacher, students can negotiate a time that’s good for them and make a single payment through Langu’s secure system. For instruction, students and teachers can connect through Langu with live video and a virtual whiteboard. Langu was founded in 2016 and is based in London.
Based in Prague and founded in 2018, Duomly is an e-learning platform that provides programming courses. Duomly is mainly focused on the hottest areas of programming, including machine learning, blockchain and web development. In most Duomly lessons users learn theory while tackling practical coding challenges and exercises. Duomly’s introductory Blockchain course is currently free to registrants.
MentalUP is a game-based learning platform and app, offering over 60 games, with a focus on k-12 students. It provides educational and developmental certified pedagogical brain training games for students, their families and schools, focusing on improving mental skills such as such as attention, memory, logical thinking, visual spatial perception, problem solving, planning, and conceptualization. A partner of University College London, MentalUP has already been used by more than 250k students, and can be accessed on tablets, smartphones, or the web. Founded in 2014, MentalUp raised $450k in a seed round in 2019.
Developing Experts works with schools in 14 countries to give children memorable science lessons via an online learning platform. Lessons come with experts from universities and industry, who share their expertise. Developing Experts then narrates an unforgettable story told with stunning images and videos, punctuated with opportunities for discussion. Every lesson concludes with simple hands-on activities designed to use supplies teachers already have (or are easy to get), and children and parents can revisit the lessons at home. Founded in 2015 and based in Norwich, Developing Experts has raised a total of £1.3 million over four rounds.
Based in Sofia, Coursedot is “the world’s biggest marketplace for IT trainings”. The startup has formed partnerships with 400 top global and local training providers and has a network of over 2,200 certified IT instructors that are up to date with the latest IT trends and can lead quality trainings in various topics and in multiple languages. Coursedot for Business works closely with human resource departments and heads of technical teams in all sizes and types of organisations to help them select the right training courses to get the most value from their training budgets. Founded in 2015, the startup has raised a total of €400k over four rounds.