Sanoma Startup Challenge

Overview: The 5 Finalists of the Sanoma Startup Challenge

Sanoma Learning is making the news this month. We reported on both Sanoma’s Learning Outcomes accelerator program that aims to work together with teachers, students and academics on innovative ideas to improve on learning outcomes and also their recent partnership with adaptive learning platform Knewton.

When it comes to improving learning outcomes it becomes apparent that Sanoma is equally as interested in EdTech startups and recently announced the finalists of its EdTech Startup Challenge.

Let’s take a look at who these five startups are. The finalists were chosen out of 100 applications from 24 European countries. EdTech startups that are in business for less than five years and with revenue below €2 million were invited to apply.

The winner of this Startup Challenge will be awarded €25,000 ($34,500). If you plan to attend The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam on April 25, you will have the chance to see their live presentations.

If you watch the European EdTech scene more closely you will already be familiar with these startups. But it shows that persistence, repeated participation in various challenges and startup showcases pays off.

Here they are in alphabetical order:


EduKeyUK startup EduKey was founded in 2010 by Duncan Wilson and Gintas Sasnauskas.

The startup develops software for the K-12 classroom including behavioral management and seating charts to make learning more efficient and effective and to minimize student misbehavior.

EduKey will pitch its Class Charts product in Amsterdam. Class Charts combines seating charts with behavior management tools.


Links | Twitter | Facebook


eduveeLondon-based eduvee is an adaptive learning platform in the K-12 space that specializes in STEM subjects and is currently available for Biology, Chemistry and Physics for ages 11 to 16.

The startup claims to have delivered 200,000 lessons to 16,000 students. A trial at schools in the UK is undergoing for which Pearson is providing content exclusively.

eduvee offers intuitive, adaptive and exam board mapped lessons, quizzes, videos and interactive materials for students to learn independently.


Links | Twitter | Facebook | AngelList


JumpidoJumpido, a Bulgarian startup, takes on gamification for primary students.

Founded in 2013 the team develops interactive math games combined with making use of Microsoft’s Kinect technology in an educational setting.

Using Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensor, pupils need to combine intelligent thinking with physical gestures in order to solve problems. The product is currently used in 236 schools.


Links | Twitter | FacebookCrunchBase | AngelList


LabsterCopenhagen-based startup Labster develops 3D virtual environments to teach higher students in life sciences and biotech at a fraction of the cost of a brick and mortar laboratory.

Labster is already being used in various renown institutions worldwide including Stanford and Berkeley. Universities and educators interested can sign up for a free 30-day- trial of Labster’s virtual laboratories and other features.


Links | Twitter | Facebook | CrunchBase


WeWantToKnow is an Oslo-based startup that develops educational games to teach kids mathematical concepts in a fun and engaging way. Founded in 2012 the first app named DragonBox teaches kids algebra.

According to the startup tests in schools show that after one hour of using the app 30% of children were able to solve equations, 80% after just two hours. The app is also being tested in 100 schools around the U.S.


Links | Twitter | Facebook | CrunchBase

Without elaborating on the details of how Sanoma’s decision came about, I think we have a few interesting points here. Being able to pick five finalists of 100 application total from 24 different European countries show that edtech is happening in Europe.

On the other hand, I find it astonishing that EDUKWEST being the edtech startup blog based in Europe still gets approached by far more US companies than European founders. This especially given that EdTech Europe’s Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet speaks of more than 3000 edtech and elearning companies fighting for marketshare and investments in Europe.

Agreeing on these five startups as finalists is not very surprising in itself as they embody all of the dominant trends we currently see in the market, starting from a focus on K12, over gamification and personalization to managing a classroom more effectively.

Further Reading

    • Sanoma organizes Sanoma Startup Challenge: The future of learning | Press Release
    • European Edtech finalists selected for the Sanoma Startup Challenge. | Press Release

Picture “Amsterdam Canals: Herengracht & Brouwersgracht” by Daniel Peckham, Some Rights Reserved

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at