Innovation & Enterprise


UCL startup receives funding for digital education in response to coronavirus crisis

30 June 2020

Education technology startup Musemio has secured a £48,000 government grant from Innovate UK to help bring its pioneering digital content to more children.

An exhibition of Egyptian items, within the Musemio app

Cofounded by UCL alumna Kaitlin Fritz (UCL History of Art 2018) and Olga Kravchenko, Musemio makes mobile virtual reality (VR) games that allow children to explore arts, culture and history.

The company has won several awards for its innovative, immersive and accessible education experiences. Noting increased demand for their products as children learn from home during the pandemic, Kaitlin and Olga looked at expanding their offering through Innovate UK’s Fast Start competition.

Partnerships for education

As well as developing and delivering bespoke, mobile-based education content, Musemio has worked with museums and cultural organisations around the world on collaborative digital initiatives.

With the Innovate UK grant, they hope to continue to provide greater access to cultural education on their platform, while also growing their library of original and co-authored content.

Kaitlin said: “With many more children homebound than usual during these times and institutions seeing less visitors, we saw a unique opportunity to provide greater access at home. The aim of the grant is for Musemio to become multi-modal, allowing children to access the platform beyond mobile VR. This grant will enable children to engage with Musemio on a variety of devices in the future, and allow us to continue building momentum in the digital cultural education space.”

Mentoring high growth SMEs

Musemio has previously taken part in the extracurricular entrepreneurship programmes at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, receiving business advice, free office space and mentoring from the Entrepreneurship team. 

More recently, the company has benefitted from UCL Innovation & Enterprise business growth support, delivered by the Global Innovation team through their Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) activities. This has helped Musemio generate a clear business plan and project strategy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kemil Thomas, Senior Partnerships Manager (High Growth SMEs) at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “SMEs have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus crisis. Yet, by being agile and innovative, SMEs also hold the key to the economic recovery, as the government has effectively acknowledged through this grant and other advisory support services. The UCL community is well placed to respond to this broader challenge, with pioneering startups such as Musemio providing solutions with real impact. We’ll continue to support them and others in any way that we can.” 

Innovate UK supporting SMEs

Innovate UK has worked with the government to invest £750 million to support innovation in the country’s most research-intensive businesses during and after the coronavirus pandemic, and to support new ways of dealing with global disruption.

Among these initiatives, the Fast Start competition, which opened in April 2020, received an unprecedented response from the community with over 8,500 applications. In total, £40 million has been awarded to around 800 ‘cutting-edge’ startups, including Musemio.


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Photo © Musemio