Japanese company Cerego, the brains behind the social learning platform iKnow!, has raised $3.4 million in a round of funding from NTT DoCoMo, Japan's biggest mobile phone carrier. To date, Cerego has raised a total of $23.4 million in funding since its launch in 2000.
Cerego originally launched iKnow as an online service for Japanese people to learn English and then expanded the platform to allow users to learn content in any language. Cerego has developed learning algorithms based on research in the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience that power iKnow. The learning engine is unique because it lets users set personal learning goals and then plans a curriculum and strategy around these goals.
Cerego has launched a new Facebook app called Smart.fm Brainspeed, which basically scans the information in the profiles of all of your friends and then creates a quiz around their personal information (i.e. Where was Michael born?). Users who answer the most questions correctly about a particular friend, will “own” that friend until they are unseated by another friend.
The company says the app is more of a poof of concept to show that Cerego's technology can leverage structured information to help educate across different verticals and platforms, such as Facebook. The fact that mobile subscriber NTT DoCoMo has invested heavily in Cerega suggests that perhaps the company's technology will be primed for mobile apps phone in the near future.
Here's a video about Smart.fm's technology: