Knowledge Hacking app Uptime raises an additional $3m and welcomes beauty mogul Huda Kattan and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley as new investors
- Next-generation learning app Uptime has raised a $3m extension to its Seed round, bringing the total raised so far to $19m – and only three months since launch
- New investors Huda Kattan, chairwoman of HB Investments and founder of Huda Beauty, and Authentum Partners’ founder, Jill Denham are joining the Uptime board
- YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, inventor of the hashtag Chris Messina and entertainment manager Mark Gillespie also participated in the extension round
- Uptime is seeing sustained growth particularly in the US and UK where it has been promoted by the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as App of the Day and Apps We Love; gained a five-star rating on Product Hunt; and now exceeds the average session times of Facebook and Twitter
London, 22 May: Uptime – the Knowledge Hacking app that presents expertly curated five-minute Hacks of the world’s best books, courses, and documentaries – is today announcing a roster of new investors who have participated in a $3m extension to its Seed round.
The extension – which brings the total raised by the viral edtech app to $19m in less than a year – sees Huda Kattan (founder of billion-dollar beauty brand, Huda Beauty), Chad Hurley, (YouTube co-founder, and co-investor in Leeds United Football Club), Chris Messina, (the inventor of the hashtag and open-source advocate), and Hollywood talent entertainment manager Mark Gillespie join the already esteemed list of Uptime investors.
After becoming one of the most influential people online, and launching the fastest-growing independent beauty brand Huda Beauty, Kattan is also chairman of the investment company, HB Investments (HBI). HBI was established to invest in visionary entrepreneurs that aim to build world-class consumer brands that create meaningful impact. In addition to her investment in Uptime, Kattan has also joined the team’s board.
The app uses advanced machine learning and human curation to present more than 1,700 pieces of preeminent content, from the most reputable sources to a growing audience of knowledge-hungry, ambitious and discerning users.
Since it launched in February, on a mission to empower people to access the world’s best ideas and thrive in a fast-changing world, Uptime has seen sustained growth. Particularly in the US and UK where it is being promoted by the Apple App Store and Google Play Store including as ‘App of the Day’ and ‘Apps We Love’. Uptime recently launched on Product Hunt where it has seen hundreds of upvotes and has a five-star rating.
Daily active Uptime users visit the app 1.5 times a day, on average, and up to 10% of people who consume a Hack go on to click through to the buy source. Thus demonstrating how Uptime is providing significant value to its growing user base, publishers, authors and the content creators with which it works.
A growing list of world-class investors
Kattan, Hurley, Messina and Gillespie join former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy, entrepreneur and chairman of N Brown, Lord Alliance and members of Federal Street SPV as investors in the exciting early-stage company.
Hurley is a pioneer in developing global industry-changing consumer apps and services. After working at PayPal, Hurley founded YouTube in 2005 with PayPal colleagues Steve Chen and Jawed Karim before selling the company to Google for $1.6B in 2006. His experience will be integral to helping Uptime expand and scale around the world.
Messina is investing in Uptime after becoming the app’s top hunter on Product Hunt. With a focus on using social technology to bring people together, Messina’s experience in creating humane tech products will be helpful in developing the Uptime platform. LA-based talent manager Mark Gillespie and CEO of Three Six Zero brings decades of experience working in the entertainment industry. Gillespie is passionate about innovative companies at the intersection of media and technology.
Also joining Kattan on the Uptime board is Jill Denham, president of Authentum Partners which advises and invests in fintech startups and growth companies. Denham serves as the Morneau Shepell chair, which acquired LifeWorks – the company previously founded by Uptime co-founders Jamie True and Jack Bekhor. Denham has spent her career at Wood Gundy and the Canadian International Bank of Commerce, holding senior positions in investment banking.
The rise of Uptime
Since launch, Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming, Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep, and Xenia Tchoumi’s self-empowerment guide Empower Yourself: How To Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons, are among Uptime’s most-popular Knowledge Hacks. Over the past few weeks, hacks covering NFTs – non-fungible tokens – and the blockchain have been climbing up the charts as wider interest around digital assets grows, along with hacks covering the 2021 BAFTA and Academy-Award nominated documentaries such as The Social Dilemma and Collective.
Uptime co-founder Patrick Walker said:
“We’re delighted to be welcoming Huda and Chad to Uptime as part of this extension round. Their respective experiences creating world-leading consumer companies and products will be invaluable to us as we scale Uptime to the next level.”
Uptime co-founder Jamie True said:
“We’ve been thrilled with the support for Uptime so far, both from consumers and investors. Our users are regularly coming back to Uptime to find content that engages and educates them. From learning about technical subjects such as NFTs and Bitcoin to topics closer to home including relationships, parenting and anxiety, Uptime users are gleaning key insights from our top books, courses and documentary hacks.”
Uptime co-founder Jack Bekhor said:
“We’re creating a new learning category at Uptime and it’s important to us to find investors that understand this global vision. We’re confident we will be able to build the future of learning and knowledge thanks to the support of Huda, Chad, Chris, Mark and Jill.”
Huda Kattan, chairwoman of HB Investments said:
“Democratising access to education is something I care deeply about and so does the team at Uptime. I’m excited to be joining them on this journey as an investor and board member to create a truly global edtech platform.”
Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder and angel investor said:
“I’ve been watching the Uptime team closely and it’s clear they’re on to a winner with the innovative learning format and blending of advanced machine learning and human curation. Consumer tech products are no longer just about engaging users, they have to offer value and this is one app I’m excited to be backing.”
Chris Messina, creator of the hashtag and angel investor said:
“Uptime is one of the most exciting consumer apps I’ve come across in a long time. With a combination of some of the best trends in snackable, educational content, an editorial angle that helps you find the best books, courses and documentaries, and a new kind of multimedia summary in the form of hacks, I’m excited to be working with the Uptime on bringing this brilliant new form of learning to more people.”
Mark Gillespie, CEO at Three Six Zero and angel investor, said:
“Technology has had a huge impact on the way we consume music, film and books but it can be overwhelming finding the right things to focus your time on. This is why I see a real need for Uptime, to cut through the noise and give you the tools to pursue knowledge in the areas that really interest you.”
Jill Denham, founder at Authentum Partners and Uptime board member, said:
“I had the pleasure in working with Jamie and Jack at LifeWorks and I’m delighted to be supporting them again as a board member at Uptime. I’m a huge fan of the app and how it is helping users to stand informed and inspired, in a safe space free from negativity and doom-scrolling and can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Harry Ashcroft: [email protected]
Uptime is an app that presents expertly curated five-minute Knowledge Hacks of the world’s best books, courses and documentaries. It was founded by serial entrepreneurs Jamie True and Jack Bekhor (formerly LifeWorks) with Patrick Walker (formerly an executive with YouTube and Facebook/Instagram) in 2020 with a mission to help people gain easy access to the world’s best knowledge and thrive in a fast-changing world. Uptime app uses a combination of advanced machine learning and human curation to find only the very best books, courses and documentaries online. The essence and actionable insights of knowledge from these sources are then distilled into five-minute ‘Hacks’. The company has raised $19 million to date.
About HB Investments:
HB Investments (HBI) is the private investment office of the founders of Huda Beauty: Huda (Chairwoman), Mona (President), Alya Kattan, Christopher Goncalo and is led by CEO Karan Wats. HBI invests in visionary entrepreneurs that share a common desire to build world-class consumer brands while creating meaningful impact; We pair our entrepreneurs with a brand building, marketing, PR and distribution ecosystem to help them unleash their magic.
Going beyond traditional investment partnerships, HBI also runs a comprehensive incubator program called HB Angels, which provides seed funding and a brand-building ecosystem to a carefully selected group of in-house entrepreneurs. With a robust team of top marketing, PR, operations and supply chain talent, HBI is co-creating businesses that can change the world for the better.