Labster has raised $10million in Series A funding from Balderton Capital, Europe’s largest early stage venture capital investor. Northzone and Unity Technologies-founder David Helgason are also investing in the round, which will allow the education tech company to continue its rapid expansion in the US, Europe and Asia.
Labster provides an easily accessible way for students from all over the world to experience science. The tech company creates fully interactive advanced virtual lab simulations that use technology from computer gaming and research on the psychology of learning to guide students through real science experiments. Working with customers including Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA, and Imperial College in London, Labster develops simulations designed to deepen students’ learning, as well as to prepare them for more advanced studies in real labs. University students can perform simulations of experiments as many times as they need to, around their own timetable on their own devices, or in a classroom with the guidance of a teacher.
Labster has a bank of more than 64 simulations, from a basic introduction to acids and bases where students perform a simulation of handling corrosive chemicals, to a simulation of using a confocal microscope. All simulations include games and challenges to keep students engaged and learning. Increasingly simulations can be accessed through Virtual Reality headsets to give the student the experience of actually being in the lab.
Students, from high school to university, can access Labster’s simulations for a reasonable monthly subscription. The company has customers at over 150 institutions in 25 countries, including ETH in Zurich, Harvard Medical School, MIT and Imperial College.
Balderton and Northzone’s investment will fund Labster’s expansion in the US and Europe, as well as help initiate special projects in South America, the Middle East and Africa. Labster intends to develop new simulations for students in chemistry, physics and medicine. The funding will also enable the company to continue its extensive research into the learning impact of virtual content and new technologies on students from around the world.
Labster founder and CEO Mads Tvillinggaard Bonde said: “Labster provides the education sector with an opportunity to increase learning and motivation to unprecedented levels. By uniting elements from the psychology of learning, virtual simulations and gaming, Labster is helping students learn more effectively and use resources that might be otherwise impossible to access. This funding from Balderton Capital and Northzone will give us the opportunity to engage even more students globally, helping young people achieve their qualifications as well as opening up their minds to the applications of science.”
“Labster wants to expand the educational horizons of students around the world and enable young people who may previously have been excluded from high level education, to engage with science in a way that was previously impossible. We think this company has global potential, and very much look forward to working with Mads, Michael and their team as they help scientists change the world,” said Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, general partner, Balderton Capital.
David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies, said: “Having worked closely with the amazing team at Labster over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to witness their incredible creativity, hard work and determination first hand. Labster is a revolutionary educational tool and tools are the highest point of technology, helping us to achieve ambitious and inspirational goals.”
“By taking advantage of all the latest technologies, Labster has pioneered a novel solution that can be very beneficial to universities and students globally. Using this impressive and portable platform, we can improve the learning outcomes and motivation of students in the fields of science and technology,” Kambiz Hamadani, Assistant Professor, California State University, San Marcos, said.
The series A funding will also enable further development of Labster’s simulation builder platform, which allows students and scientists around the world to create their own Virtual Reality simulations. This project recently secured for Labster the prize of overall winner in the prestigious Reimagine Education awards, organised by Wharton business school, the SEI Center at the University of Philadelphia, and QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the compiler of the QS World University Rankings.
Anyone who wants to experience Labster for themselves can try a lab here.