Dublin’s Soapbox Labs to scale to 80 employees

Appointing a new CEO and revealing growth plans, SoapBox is on a mission to transform how kids learn through interacting with technology through their voices.

Soapbox Labs has revealed plans to scale rapidly in the next two years from 30 to 80 employees. The company has just appointed Dr Martyn Farrows as CEO while previous CEO and founder Dr Patricia Scanlon will become chair of the company.

Driving the company’s innovation vision and strategy, Dr Scanlon was named one of the world’s top women in tech by Forbes.

“SoapBox Labs is an established leader in the education market, but when it comes to fulfilling our mission to radically transform how kids interact with technology, we’re still just getting started”

In addition to the 10 new employees it has hired in the past year, the company said it aims to scale from 30 to 80 employees in the next two years.

Voicing the future of education

Man and woman in a garden.

Soapbox Labs founder and executive chair Dr Patricia Scanlon and new CEO Dr Martyn Farrows. Image: Arthur Carron

“SoapBox Labs is an established leader in the education market, but when it comes to fulfilling our mission to radically transform how kids interact with technology, we’re still just getting started,” Dr Scanlon said.

“I’m excited to focus on that mission and to drive forward the future technology innovation, vision and strategy of the company. Martyn is a proven technology leader and operator. His energy, insight, and unmatched knowledge of our technology, customers, and markets will accelerate our growth during this important new phase of the company.”

Dr Farrows joined SoapBox Labs in 2017 as chief operations officer to lead operations, business development, and strategic partnerships.

His appointment comes as SoapBox Labs makes significant new investments in each of its two core offerings: “SoapBox Educate” for its existing K-12 school and classroom-focused market, and “SoapBox Play” for its new consumer-focused market. SoapBox Educate will continue to develop solutions to voice-enable literacy, language learning, dyslexia screening and speech therapy products, while SoapBox Play will focus on voice-enabling children’s games, toys, and entertainment applications for the home and consumer market.

“With so many new opportunities before us, we are fortunate to have Patricia’s creativity and technical expertise driving the next phase of our innovation and strategy,” Dr Farrows said.

“I’m thrilled to take the helm at such an important juncture in our development. The coming years will see us expand rapidly and deepen our leadership position as the voice solution of choice for the classroom and consumer markets.”

Last August, Soapbox scored a major coup by having its technology deployed by US edtech publishing giant Amplify.

Named one of Europe’s hottest startups by Wired UK in 2019, SoapBox Labs was founded by Dr. Patricia Scanlon, whose popular TEDx talk explains the ways in which technology can “transform a child’s reading journey.” In 2018, Scanlon was named to the Forbes list of Top 50 Women in Tech globally.

Almost a year ago SoapBox Labs raised €5.8m in funding from international venture capital firm Astia Angels and Dublin-based Elkstone Capital.

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 6 May 2021

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