A Chat with Josh Wohle, CEO at EdTech Company: Mindstone

Mindstone is on a mission to surface and accelerate the world’s informal learning.

It’s a category-defining learning platform that enables people to learn faster, remember more and make sense of all the information they encounter online. The platform rigorously employs the science of learning, and by making the most of the internet as the most powerful learning resource, rethinking online learning from the ground up.

We built Mindstone with two key principles in mind: learner-centricity and the value of social interaction. Mindstone has been carefully designed to sit at the intersection of productivity, knowledge management and the science of learning. Our tools allow the user to easily extract insights from freely available online content – web pages, PDFs, videos and podcasts – to create and engage in automatically curated user-generated learning playlists.

Our vision is to create a world where anyone can learn anything as fast as is humanly possible and opportunity is restricted only by what you know, not who you know or the institutions you went to.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Mindstone fulfils something I wished existed when I was younger and learning in rigid, traditional forms of education. Paradoxically, I have always had a passion for learning: I’m a self-taught developer and have had some truly life-altering informal learning experiences.

Even before my time as CPTO & Co-founder of SuperAwesome, I was drawn more into the world of edtech and found myself sitting down with other startup founders to discuss, ‘what is learning?’ and ‘how can technology be built to amplify those learning experiences?’.

When I started investing in the space, my interest led me to read How We Learn by Benedict Carey and I began exploring the ‘science of learning,’ as well as, the different learning pathways; these experiences and conversations were the foundation upon which the Mindstone platform was built, aiming to address both macro and micro problems within online learning.
Mindstone - Insights

How has the company evolved over the pandemic?

The pandemic highlighted how the archaic ways in which we learn were in desperate need of digital transformation. We soon discovered Zoom classes were beset by problems and the ‘great shift’ we were told to expect in terms of online learning failed to materialise.

This is because the education industry tried to take in-person learning and shoehorn it into an online format, whereas what we actually need to do is reframe the narrative and rethink what learning means in a world with plenty of access to technology and an ever-increasing pace of information flows.

The ways in which technology can permanently enhance the learning experience are vast – and we’re yet to really scratch the surface – but like many failed technology revolutions have shown, the answer is not to transpose old methods with new technology.

Mindstone was built during the pandemic, so we were already fully adapted to remote working and ‘the new normal.’ We have seen some really encouraging traction since we launched – our user base is growing about 7% per week, with over 75k registered users to date, but we’re obviously nowhere near done. We recently improved our Chrome extension, registering a 50% uptick in overall engagement from our user base, with many more improvements to come. As part of our growth journey, we ran the largest ever edtech crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, in November 2021.

We regularly talk to our users, through more than 500 personalised calls and zoom meetings, which has allowed us to continuously improve the platform, deriving insights from their feedback. Ultimately, the pandemic has also led us to be hyper-focused on the immediate next steps and how we can make improvements for our users right now, rather than looking too far into the future.


What can we expect to see from Mindstone in the future?

We recently launched Mindstone for Business which uses Mindstone’s inbuilt peer-to-peer discussion and annotation system to help fast-growth businesses remain agile through the constant iteration and easy updating of organisational knowledge, helping them avoid the cumbersome, compliance-oriented onboarding process.

Fast-growing companies can create and curate onboarding, reskilling and upskilling ‘playlists’ drawn from a combination of proprietary resources and the abundance of the freely available content on the internet. This will enable businesses to improve and scale formalise training, both facilitating more effective onboarding for new hires and supporting upskilling and re-skilling of existing employees.

As a company, we will continue to be at the forefront of a new way of thinking around how we learn. We are striving to democratise learning, both personally and professionally, facilitating learning and creating opportunities for self-improvement in an endless number of disciplines.

We will build on our momentum to simplify and accelerate informal learning to more and more people around the world, in the quest to help people remember more, faster.

What changes do you hope to see in the edtech market in the next ten years?

In the next decade, we hope the market will have moved away from edtech, talking more about “learning”. We hope the market is re-worked and re-tooled towards a more learner-centric focus, in which the learning journey begins with the individual and institutions adapting to their needs instead of the other way around.

By adopting learner-centricity and building social learning right at the centre of the experience, learning will be personalised, tailored to the pace and needs of the individual, thus accelerating people’s progress as well as enabling people to remember more of what they learn.

The education system has been crying out for innovation and as we slowly see the traditional institutions realise both the value of more granular skills recordings and the powerful role technology can play, I expect we’ll see a major paradigm shift in what ‘learning’ means, hopefully moving towards a fully-collaborated frontier between the individual, industry and learning.