From Best Friends to Co-Founders: The Story Behind the Rapidly Evolving Mobile Learning Company HLT

Three best friends had an idea. It began with the stuff of study halls: flash cards strewn across the bottom of backpacks. In 2012, Alec Whitters pitched to publishers what seemed like an easy and obvious idea: converting those 3×5 ruled rectangles into an app. Said publishers balked, but where they backed off, the friends bought in.

At the time, Alec Whitters was in dental school, Ben O’Connor was in nursing school, and Adam Keune was working in sales. The work was cut out for them: to make something which was so prevalent in the analog format and convert it to something accessible and sustainable digitally.

In 2012 alone, their users answered 30,000 practice questions on their platform. Then they kicked into hyper-drive—that number jumped to 12 million in 2013, then 32 million, 100 million, then 225 million for 2014, 2015, and 2016 (estimated) respectively. The platform now has 480,000 unique monthly active users across 192 countries.

What was originally an idea on a publishers’ cutting room floor has turned into something much more. The company the three friends created, Higher Learning Technologies (HLT), now employs 55+ employees, has garnered over 10 million dollars in investment, and has reached over 2 million students.

Company at a Glance:

Company name: Higher Learning Technologies (HLT)

Founded: 2012

Founder’s name: Adam Keune, co-founder


Company Twitter:@HigherLearnTech

Founder’s Twitter: @AdamKeune

Company market segment: College/Medical/Military Education

To learn more about HLT, Hannah Nyren of EdTech Times spoke with Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer, Adam Keune.

Listen to the full interview:

Sam Benson Smith

Sam Benson Smith

Sam has covered education, travel, and sports for Off Assignment, CLNS Radio, and Bibliophile, former 2 time JV volleyball captain, onetime water park mascot.