Software start-up Gecko Labs secures £1m funding round

The founder of the New Look fashion chain is among the backers of a £1 million funding round secured by Scottish education software firm Gecko Labs.

Gecko Labs founder and chief executive Matt Lanham. Picture: Chris Watt

The deal is aimed at accelerating the Edinburgh-based company’s global push as it launches a new live chat system connecting universities and potential students. The firm is also expanding into the North American market, opening a London office and plans to increase staff numbers by 50 per cent following the support from investors.

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The company’s Gecko Chat product enables university staff with a unified inbox that allows them to manage and respond to conversations happening across their website, Facebook, Twitter, text messages and email without having to be logged into multiple systems.

The funding round was led by Andrew Weisz, of London-based Weisz Investments, along with Tom Singh, founder of the New Look fashion chain. Many of Gecko’s existing investors also took part in the round.

Founder and chief executive Matt Lanham said: “To date, we have helped our clients capture more than one million enquiries from students and this funding will allow us to continue building further innovative products to support our clients and fuel our growth.”

“Whilst there are hundreds of start-ups focusing on bringing innovation to the classroom, the universities’ back offices have been left behind with aging software that doesn’t meet the needs of today’s student. Gecko is changing that, building innovative products that meet the real challenges university staff are facing and ultimately giving them the super powers they need to get their jobs done.”

Singh said the business had already achieved “outstanding success” in the UK, adding: “The opportunity is there to build on the interest coming in from educational institutes around the world.”

Founded in 2012, Gecko Labs currently employs 20 staff. Shortly after its launch, the firm took part in ignite100, one of the UK’s top tech accelerator programmes, and won investment from Northstar Ventures, IP Group and angel investors.

In September 2015 it received £250,000 in new investment in a round led by AngelLab through Weisz. The London Co-Investment Fund provided additional funding.

Singh is a non-executive board member at New Look, which has some 900 stores worldwide. He is an active private investor with family interests spanning retail, technology, real estate and renewable energy.