RefME goes global from London

Free reference management tool RefME is growing its business tenfold every year thanks to London’s booming edtech sector.

Organisation details


About RefME

Launched in London in October 2014, RefME is the first tool to accurately automate the citation process.

The market is vast: around 400m students around the world must validate and cite information sources in their work.
Within 12 months of launch, the company had signed up 1m users and raised $5m in start-up capital. Some 16m people are forecast to use the service by spring 2017.

London’s edtech sector: rich in talent and funding

RefME was attracted to London by an exciting convergence of tech expertise, education clusters and financial backing.
The UK’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme — which gives entrepreneurs the chance to swap equity for funding — was another draw.

“It’s a no-brainer to be in a city that’s as important as Silicon Valley,” explains RefME CEO Tom Hatton.

“The world’s education systems were born out of the UK and we have 150 universities on the doorstep. US venture capitalists have always been here and in the last two to three years we have seen European VCs come in.”

RefME has recruited an international workforce from Google, Apple, Zipcar and others in London: “We have hired the best tech talent that we could find.”

The edtech sector has really started to grow out of London. It has everything you need within about half an hour. The community in London is brilliant: we are sharing our stories and challenges.

RefMe CEO Tom Hatton

A niche edtech product dominates the market from London

Thanks to its popularity across the US and the UK, RefME grew faster than Twitter and Pinterest did in its first year, adding 30,000 users in just one day in early 2015.

Hatton continues: “We’ve won in the UK space and that’s taken 9-12 months with high levels of user retention and organic growth. Our business sits in the $50bn academic publishing market and will soon move into the pharmaceutical industry, legal and other sectors.”

RefME plans to open offices outside the UK in 2016-17.

Key takeaways

London’s edtech sector powers fast growth for RefME:
RefME is currently attracting 4-5,000 new users a day
The company chose London for its mix of leading tech talent, venture capital and access to education clusters and Government
Since opening in London, RefME’s user base has grown 1000% a year

Find out more about scaling-up in London