Keenious, an AI-driven academic research tool, has successfully raised €1.3 million in funding led by Spintop Ventures, with Investinor as co-lead. 

Recent revelations of academic misconduct among public figures have underscored the critical need for reliable tools that support academic integrity. To foster ethical academic practices, Keenious, an AI-driven research tool, enhances the research process by helping users find relevant sources for their work and guiding them on proper use of sources. This is achieved by analyzing the content and context of a user’s document while they write and recommending relevant, often overlooked research publications.

“Keenious addresses a well-known, large, and global problem within academic research with a unique solution. When I first met the founders I was impressed with the strong commercial traction they had so early in their journey, winning lighthouse customers on a global market. With my experience within EdTech I saw a company that stood out from the crowd, giving high-ed access to an AI tool that keeps the integrity of the research process intact,” says Helen Agering, partner at Spintop Ventures

Bjørn Rustberggaard, founder of three successful EdTech companies (Mintra, WeVideo, Inspera), is contributing to the round and will also join the board with his expertise. Birger Magnus, an experienced chairman and former Inspera board member, is also a key investor. The investment is aimed at accelerating the growth and development of Keenious’ platform, which helps students and researchers find relevant sources for their research with ease.

Solving the Problem They Had as Students
Keenious was founded by two students, Frode Opdahl and Anders Rapp, who recognized the challenges of navigating vast amounts of academic literature while writing their own papers. Inspired by how recommendation systems like Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify can reveal content users aren’t even aware of, they created a tool that intelligently recommends relevant sources without requiring precise search queries, providing suggestions seamlessly while users work on their documents.

We initially developed this tool because as former students we found other research tools too complex and difficult to use. But what we didn’t expect is that researchers would also find Keenious very useful, using it in different ways than students, which we think is very exciting,” says Frode Opdahl, Technical Founder and CEO.

The Problem with Search
Students often encounter difficulties in formulating effective queries for traditional search engines, which can lead to frustration and having to settle for information of lower relevancy. Moreover, new AI tools frequently require queries known as “prompts”. These tools can also impede learning by automatically generating answers, thereby reducing the need for users to engage deeply with the material. Keenious addresses both issues by suggesting relevant articles and topics in a user-friendly sidebar, providing assistance precisely when users might feel the frustration of not finding the right information. This approach promotes independent analysis and critical thinking, while enhancing engagement with academic materials.

Helping Students Across the World Succeed
Endorsed by multiple major academic institutions, Keenious has been called ”Your New Favorite Research Tool” by Carnegie Mellon University, the ”birthplace” of AI. Studies show that by incorporating Keenious into their workflow, students find significantly more relevant articles compared to using traditional search methods alone. Additionally, they report feeling more inspired and motivated to learn.

Keenious is an exciting company. Since our initial investment in 2020, Keenious has developed a very promising AI-driven research tool and added several reputable educational institutions to its client list. The company has ambitious and skilled management, and we have high hopes for its future,” says Investment Director Rannveig Fadum at Investinor Nord-Norge.

Founded in Norway, Keenious quickly recognized that this challenge affected students globally. Their first customer, a university in New Zealand, highlighted the international need for their tool. Today, the team of eight spans four countries and works with university customers worldwide.