Education is a huge part of the global economy. It accounts for around 6% of global GDP and, more importantly, impacts the lives of almost everyone on Earth. Despite this, it has barely been disrupted by technology.

In some ways this is understandable, the education market is fragmented, heavily-regulated and difficult to crack.

But true entrepreneurs relish these challenges and this was the case when Masa Watanabe, the co-founder of DeNA – the hugely successful Japanese mobile and e-commerce company – founded Quipper in 2010. Quipper produces cross-platform, cross-device software that allows teachers to set and track assignments, answer students’ questions via IM, and monitor individuals’ learning progress.

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The $150B+ global news industry has been undergoing a profound transformation for well over a decade. News is more accessible and more widely consumed than ever before, but the means of delivery and the industry’s economic model are still undergoing significant disruption.

If the first wave of change was brought by the explosion of desktop Internet access, the second wave has been fuelled by the spread of smartphones and tablets, enabling entirely new ways to discover and consume news. Against this backdrop of ongoing disruption, there is a huge opportunity for products that are both loved by users and also work economically for news publishers.

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Atomico, the technology investment firm founded by Niklas Zennström, also known as a co-founder of Skype, today announced the hiring of Shinichi Iwata, former President of Skype Japan, to head up their new Tokyo office. Shin joins Atomico’s growing network of Market Expansion Professionals, and will focus upon Japan.

Atomico invests in technology companies around the world, primarily in the internet area, and has made more than 50 investments on four continents. It looks for companies that have remarkable growth prospects and outstanding management teams. The firm is headquartered in London and has offices in São Paulo, Beijing, Istanbul, and now also Tokyo.

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