For Gen Z, education is a digital affair. The generation that has grown up immersed in technology and digital innovation looks to online approaches to help them learn, connect and develop their career aspirations.
Knowunity is a digital learning platform that has been made for and by students of this younger generation. The team has just scored €10 million of fresh funding in a Series A funding round co-led by Redalpine and Stride. Existing investors such as Project A and angels including the World Cup-winning footballer Mario Götze and the founders of Booking.com and Preply also participated.
It’s thought that 80% of Gen Z prefer to study with friends, often virtually via video conferencing, messaging or other social media apps. However, the user experience to date has either been teacher-led and institutionally focused or fragmented, noisy and full of all the dopamine distractions typically associated with traditional social media. This is exactly the gap Knowunity fills.
Based in Berlin and born in 2019, Knowunity provides a clean, vertically-focused mobile app that covers everything a student needs to have a great learning experience. It’s entirely peer-to-peer and enables top students or “Knowers” to create and publish their own educational content to help “Learners” better understand the course curriculum – all tailored to their own country and in their own language.
Students engage through direct messaging and real support is provided via group learning and the power of the community. Through the platform’s creator tools, the best Knowers build strong content, profiles and followings that can be amplified both in-app and externally so they can amplify their reach and generate a viral loop back to the product.
It’s bringing learning and educational content on a platform and format that is more relevant, engaging and interesting to the digital native generation.
What makes Knowunity particularly interesting is that it was founded by Gen Z entrepreneurs. The founders developed the concept when they were still at school. They have now built an app that provides the best digital learning experience by combining the most effective elements of education with the dynamics of a social network in order to serve Gen Z students in a way that would be both highly enjoyable and highly effective. Their promise is to enable social learning through verified and curated content that covers every school subject and grade in a safe and intuitive mobile environment.
Launched in 2020, the young startup is now one of Europe’s fastest-growing edtech apps – with over 2.4 million users to date. Following successful launches in Austria and Switzerland, the company launched in France at the beginning of the year, where they have already attracted more than 300,000 users. In late April, Poland became the latest addition to the expansion efforts and the app achieved more than 60,000 new users within its first week to become the fastest growing app in the country’s App Store.
Benedict Kurz, 20-year-old co-founder and CEO of Knowunity, said: “With Stride and Redalpine we now have found two seasoned, international lead investors who support our vision to build the global platform for students. We are very happy about the trust that has been placed in us once again by existing investors such as Project A and Mario Götze and are pleased about the support from well-known and experienced Angels such as the co-founders of Booking.com and Preply”.
Looking to the future, the edtech innovators want to continue to expand the reach of the platform, with plans to launch in Italy and the UK later this year. In the medium term, expansion into the U.S. is also planned.
Gabbi Cahane, Partner at Stride.vc, added: “From the first moment we met Benedict and the founding team, we knew we had an exceptionally talented group in front of us. Considering the whole founding team was sitting in the classroom less than two years ago, what they’ve achieved to date is outstanding. Their unique set of insights and ability to execute on them means they’ve found a way to ‘crack the code’ for this audience and this problem. Thanks to the power of UGC and strong network effects, Knowunity is well placed to replicate their early traction internationally and become the dominant category player – globally. This is a bet on a team with exceptional raw talent that are attempting to drag an antiquated education system into the light of the 21st century. If this works, Knowunity can define an entire new category of edtech for Gen Z.”
The fresh funding will be used to drive forward product development in order to provide better support for students in their everyday school life. To this end, the team is set to grow from 60 to more than 100 employees by the end of this year.