Memory-makers: Paul and Petros’s plan for the big time with their AI-driven study business
March 29, 2023
March 29, 2023
Two Old Elizabethan entrepreneurs and a friend have launched an innovative business that leverages the power of AI to help students revise and learn.
Their online business, Save All, uses machine learning to turn students’ own input into interactive quizzes. As well as a website, there are iOS and Android Save All apps.
Backed by venture capitalists, QE contemporaries Paul Evangelou and Petros Christodoulou (2001–2008) and their business partner, Robin Jack, are keen for Old Elizabethans to try out Save All for themselves.
“You can paste or type in pure information, and our AI automatically turns it into interactive quizzes,” says Paul. “It recognises key words and generates questions.” Users can also upload their own images to be used.
“These quizzes apply principles from cognitive science research – such as spaced retrieval, active recall, and interleaving – to maximise effectiveness for memory.
“Please try it and let us know what you think,” Paul says.
After graduating from Cambridge, Paul became a teacher, and during that time conducted research into cognitive science. Having realised the value of using quizzes to aid learning, he introduced the concept to Petros and to Robin, whom the pair had met at Cambridge.
For his part, after Philosophy at Cambridge, Petros’ career has included a spell working in YouTube marketing for Google and a period as an analyst. He later developed his interest in AI, taking a postgraduate diploma from Birkbeck, University of London, and a Master’s in Machine Learning from Imperial in 2018–2019, where he came top out of 60 students in his year. He then worked for nearly two years as a machine learning specialist for Amazon.
The three friends realised that existing quiz software was very slow and difficult to use, but that by deploying artificial intelligence and marrying that with effective design, they could make it much faster and deliver a much better experience for the user.
Each of them plays to his strengths in running the business. Paul handles the marketing and the web design, including the user experience (UX). He spent the past year learning visual design – “that has kind of been my hobby” – by following online courses and having weekly sessions with a mentor. He has also been focusing on learning how to do TikTok marketing and has made many TikTok videos – several have clocked up view counts in the tens of thousands. [link to https://email@example.com]
Petros is responsible for the machine learning and website front-end coding. Robin’s role centres on the backend database.
The three lived together in a shared house for the first two years. All three now have partners but still live within 30 minutes of each other in East London.
Having raised a six-figure sum, Paul, Petros and Robin all went full-time with the business in 2021.
“We have built something that people really like,” says Paul. “Now we are looking to expand. We have 50,000 active users, including GCSE and A-level students as well as university students. It’s a good start, but there is a long way to go to reach the billion-plus numbers that we are aiming for. We want to be as big as, or bigger than, Duolingo and Quizlet.”
They have built Save All using a ‘freemium’ model. “We have used aspects of gaming design, where, for example, standard users have a certain number of lives. If they use all of them, there is an enforced ‘cool down’ period, but this can be bypassed by buying a monthly subscription and gaining more lives. We will also allow the purchase of other add-ons in a way that is familiar to gamers.”
They are now working to towards the next round of funding.
Focused on their student market, they will keep the pricing affordable, Paul says.
However, he adds that Save All is by no means only targeted at the young and those in full-time education.
“We have had a woman in her sixties who used it to help her memorise bird characteristics, having taken advantage of the site’s facility for uploading images and diagrams.”
Other actual and potential users include those preparing for their driving theory tests and cognitive behavioural therapists, who could use it to monitor their patients’ mental health. Their corporate customers have included Starbucks, who use Save All to test employees’ knowledge of different varieties of coffee.
As a proud Old Elizabethan and member of Underne, Paul cherishes fond memories of being taught History by Mr Lewis: “That was really fun: the lessons were animated.” He went on to read History at university.
Paul also enjoyed playing rugby, fluctuating between the A and B sides, while Petros held a more fixed position in the A side.