Knowble Named as a Leading Global Innovator in 2017 Disrupt 100

Judged by leading innovation experts, Knowble has been selected as one of the top 100 ventures with the potential to disrupt markets globally. Disrupt 100 is an index compiled by Tällt Ventures, a global data intelligence and innovation company, celebrating the ventures with the most potential to influence, change or create new global markets.

Included alongside a notable list, Knowble has been recognised as a venture with the potential to change the world we live in.

Each company featured is judged by a panel of industry experts, including names from Uber, Google, Microsoft Ventures and Virgin Startup, against tough criteria including the talent of the founding team, the company’s traction to date and its market potential.

Kieran Harte of Uber, and judge of Disrupt 100, said: “In the 100 we’re looking at the household names of the future and it’s so important to recognise and learn from how they’re innovating.”

Parul Green, Head of M&A and Innovation at AXA UK, said “The calibre of ventures included is extremely high. Judging and ranking is no easy task as I'm amazed by each company that has been included!”

Previous ventures included in Disrupt 100 have gone on to achieve successes, with the likes of Monzo, WeFarm and Lemonade becoming established players in their respective fields.

Matt Connolly, Founder of Disrupt 100, said: “The quality of the 100 included in this year’s list is higher than ever. Across all industries new, often incredibly well funded ventures are disrupting the mainstay. Each company featured is doing something truly unique and we’re excited to follow what they do next." 

The annual index looks at innovation across all sectors, tracking ventures across industries including travel, healthcare, business agriculture and beyond.  

Will educational publishers survive current value innovation?


Recent investments pouring into digital language-learning have once more uncovered significant developments within our industry. Traditional textbook publishers, however, seem to constantly close their eyes for these developments. Will they survive the value innovation created by language-learning EdTech companies?

Digital vs. Algorithm

While traditional textbook publishers remain focussed on their print-first strategy with elements of digitalisation, new ventures are rapidly gaining ground with their algorithm-first strategy. Where the print-first strategy merely explores possibilities of distributing existing textbook content digitally, the algorithm-first strategy relies on automated creation of that very content, along with highly adaptive delivery mechanisms. Algorithms instead of human authoring, rendering a high-volume, low cost business model.

Content Automatisation

New kids on the block are building automatised generators of learning content based around machine learning, computational linguistics and artificial intelligence. What they are striving towards is a highly cost-efficient content generator that adapts maximally to learner’s needs. The latest investment into these kind of companies only confirm this development.

  • A great example is Duolingo that recently received 45M in series D investment led by Google Capital. Duolingo mostly focuses on gamified language learning with automatic task creation.
  • Another great example that just cashed some 8 million is Lingvist - an Estonian startup focused on learning speed and efficiency with great support of algorithms.
  • On the other side of this spectrum are dedicated digital publishers of learning content such as Newsela (that raised 15M last month from among others Mark Zuckerberg). They start with the high-quality manual approach and slowly move towards automatisation of the publishing process with help of the same mix of AI and computational linguistics.

Again, what all of them have in common is the large automatisation of content production, adaptability to learner's needs, and clear progress monitoring.


It is hard to believe that content, that needs to be authored and edited manually, can continue to compete with highly automatised and adaptive content providers.


Traditional publishers still rely primarily on static content with multi-media enhancements (essentially a book made available in digital format). It is hard to believe that this static, one-size-fits all content, that still needs to be authored and edited manually, can continue to compete with highly automatised and adaptive content providers in the near future. The developments in the EdTech industry have the words ‘value innovation’ written all over it: equivalent or better service (language-learning), but at dramatically lower costs.

Penetrating Schools

Naturally, language learning is not only about technology where large amounts of content is pushed to the learner at lowest permissible cost. A big part of the learning process still happens in the classroom where learners write, speak and go over grammar. This process has been traditionally supported by the static content provided by educational publishers. However, we are rapidly heading towards a situation where the digital-first providers not only offer content, but also provide pedagogically sound, engaging and affordable tools that can be used by teachers and students anywhere, anytime and on any device. Think big data and learning analytics.

Delivering static content in an online environment was an important first step but future language learners and teachers will have access to affordable, highly personalised and engaging language learning technology. Educational publishers should practice what they preach and learn from computational linguistics and artificial intelligence. Maybe not to survive, but to stay relevant at least.