Knowledge Officer Wins Prestigious Smart Grant

Anyone who has ever applied for a research grant in the UK knows how hard it is to win one as good or big as Smart Grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

After presenting our research and results, Knowledge Officer has been selected to receive funding worth over £400,000 to take our platform to the next level!

It’s further validation of not only the importance of the problem that the Knowledge Officer team is looking to crack, but also the effectiveness of the approach they are implementing. By attempting to fuel data-driven learning at scale, the team is confident they can be a strong challenger in the path-to-employment platforms space! This grant was awarded based on the significance of the problem Knowledge Officer is working to solve – building the best path-to-employment platform and promoting data-driven learning at scale. The Smart grant is awarded to game-changing ideas from businesses with strong evidence of impact. Knowledge Officer was one of just a few startups selected for the fund from 500 applications.

“The grant will help us scale our ML team in London and support our ambitions to help millions of job seekers find the right and proven path to pursue their dream career goals at an affordable price. It’s a huge under-served market and we are here to serve the unserved.” “In our journey to create the shortest and most efficient path to employment, think Google Maps for learning, we wanted to change the way people perceive learning and transform the overall experience to be based on data and ML. Thanks to Google Maps, it is now incredibly easy to drive home from your office, or anywhere for that matter. Now imagine the impact of a concrete route to take you from your current skill set (Point A) to a transformed, aspirational state (Point B), where you are being offered your dream job!”

Ahmed El Sharkasy, CEO of Knowledge Officer

Why the World Needs Knowledge Officer

The UK economy is suffering from a huge skills gap, which costs businesses more than £2bn a year, as companies struggle to find workers with the right skills (source: Open University). 45% of small businesses report that they are unable to find qualified applicants, and according to Gartner, only 20% of employees have the skills needed. Two-thirds of organizations do not have a formal strategy to address skills gaps, and most struggle to identify or assess what skills are missing. (Source: CompTIA 2017 report)

This problem isn’t isolated to the UK either; the whole world is also looking for alternative, efficient, and affordable education. Bill Gates summarised the problem nicely,

“I read more than my share of textbooks, but it’s a pretty limited way to learn something. Even the best text can’t figure out which concepts you understand and which ones you need more help with. Software can be used to create a much more dynamic learning experience.”

Bill & Melinda Gates 2019 Annual Letter

How Knowledge Officer Works

Knowledge Officer’s vision is to create the shortest and most efficient path to employment and career progression. Their e-learning platform technology builds a personalized learning path, helping the user learn with purpose to achieve their career goals. The company uses a three-step career development process:

1) Skills – artificial intelligence analyzes job descriptions from the best companies in the world to identify the most common and important skills that would increase someone’s chances of employment.

2) Learning – the product curates the highest-quality learning materials from around the web, then creates challenges and key summaries with a smart gamification level to boost completion rates.

3) Opportunities – At different points throughout the learning journey, the product notifies the user when their skills match available and relevant jobs. The company works with leading recruitment platforms including Adzuna, ZipRecruiter, and more to source the best job opportunities in the market.

The power of that: the system is in a constant feedback loop. The more people going through learning and assessments and then getting a job offer or getting evidently upskilled, the better the system will be. “And that’s when data network effects will kick in,” Ahmed Eshra, CTO of Knowledge Officer shared.

In summary, Knowledge Officer has developed its proprietary technology to use data from millions of job postings and public company profiles to understand the skills required for each job title. Then the technology finds the best-curated content that helps users gain those skills.

What differentiates Knowledge Officer’s approach from face-to-face courses or boot camps, besides scalability, is that people going through those experiences receive the same standardized content while their actual learning needs, styles, and backgrounds are unique to the individual. It has been proven by research that personalized learning is far more effective than traditional learning solutions.

The company’s innovation is to collect massive market data on job roles and skills to deliver role-specific, freely available learning content that matches those skills and is proven to help people acquire the necessary knowledge and concepts, all of which are actually needed.

Knowledge Officer is planning to use the grant money to expand their Machine Learning strength and grow their London team (currently 5 and hiring). The platform has more than 100K users now with a few thousand active users on a weekly basis with the goal of reaching a stable MRR by the end of 2019 from both B2C and B2B revenue streams.