By @SimonCocking

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

Litmus is an Artificially Intelligent (A.I.) tutor that helps secondary school Maths students as they attempt their problems line by line like a real life tutor. By doing this Litmus can notify students of their mistakes when and where they happen eliminating the confusion in trying to find potentially small mistakes and frustration in having to redo entire sums. Litmus also gives students tips, hints and video clips when their stuck, while grading their work and gathering data to help them improve areas of weakness. All of this is done at a fraction of the cost of private tutoring. We’re currently live and free on both the Apple App Store and Google Play store and can be found by searching for “Litmus – Maths Tutor” so please check us out.

Here’s a quick video of how it works:

How are you different?

Our focus is on reinforcing what students have already learnt/know. This means we don’t aim to teach students new methods/formulas for solving sums. Rather we aim to help them improve the techniques their teacher has already shown them. Having tried to help our own children with Maths ourselves/using existing products we were constantly met with “that’s not how our teacher does it”. So with Litmus we’ve built a truly unique offering that allows our A.I. tutor to help students solve their homework or study using the methods/formulas they have already learnt.

Why will the company / product do well?

Our core team is very user-design focused. We spent months in the early days honing in on the root issues in Maths learning by working with students/teachers and researches in the space before writing a single line of code. We strongly believe that Litmus answers the key issues raised from our research. Issues such as students being taught a multitude of different methods/formulas from different sources without fulling grasping any of them, competitor products having their own courses which make it hard for students to get the help they need when they need it, or perhaps most profound is the build up of minor/small mistakes early on that limit a student’s future progression. For example an early problem with understanding fractions can have a very negative impact on a student’s future progress with Algebra.

With this understanding of our user’s key issues we believe we’ve built a good foundation for future success.

Where are you based?

We’re based in Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Dublin. We’ve had great support from the researchers there in developing Litmus from the outset.

When was the company launched?

We founded Litmus EdCo a little over a year ago

What have been your biggest wins to date?

Since our incorporation we have launched a live/working product on the Apple App Store and Google Play store, attended an EdTech trip to Israel with the Mayor of London along with receiving investment from Ireland, United Kingdom and most recently America.

Our biggest win though happens every time we get to witness that “Aha” moment when a student grasps a concept with the help of our tutor.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

Our goal when we set out to build Litmus was to provide a true alternative for Parents who can’t afford private tuition. Being in that situation ourselves we are driven to offer every mother and father the opportunity to give their children the best education possible.

Tell us about your team?

We’re currently a very small but focused team. The founders Patrick Devine and Keith Mthunzi both hold a B.Sc in Product Design along with years of experience in Business and R&D. To compliment our experience we have have recruited many educational advisors such as Dr. Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, Manager of the Maths Support Centre in Maynooth University and Dr. Majella Dempsey, Course leader for the B.Sc in Mathematics with Education.

9) What are your long term plans for your product / company?

We’re currently looking for content and distribution partners to help us strengthen our offering and reach more parents. In the coming months we hope to cover 100% of the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate. It is a huge goal for such a young company but we’re confident with the right partners we can ensure every child gets the best possible Maths education.

We’re also always looking to connect with teachers/students/parents to get critical feedback on Litmus and incorporate their needs.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

We have a bit of an odd one from one of our founders, Skylanders. They’re a kind of stepping stone to Pokemon Go, toy figures kids collect and trade in school. When they get home they can place them on an electronic base to import a digital representation of that figure into a game. They have been around for almost 5 years now and are very innovative in how they get kids to play outside and inside. It will be very interesting to see how they respond to Pokemon Go

How do people get in touch with you?

Please feel free to reach out to Patrick, our Business Lead, by calling 087 160 2599 or by emailing [email protected]

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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