Featured Startup Pitch: RefME wants to make academic citations as easy as a single scan or click

By Editor June 17, 2015

RefME screenshots


RefME is a free tool to generate citations, reference lists and bibliographies in just a click. We’re taking the search out of research.


RefME is the world’s first multi-platform tool to completely automate the citation, referencing and bibliography process for over 7,000 referencing styles. With RefME you can create accurate citations for any source in seconds and complete an entire bibliography in minutes, saving valuable time and marks.

Powerful and easy to use:
RefME lets you create separate projects for each essay or piece of research, storing all of the references together, ready for you to export straight into your paper as a ready made bibliography.

You can easily collaborate or share your work with others by inviting them to join a project, which gives them full access to view, add and annotate citations.

Award-winning iOS and Android apps:
RefME’s award-winning mobile app lets you scan a book’s barcode using your smartphone’s camera, or search for its title, author or ISBN number in order to generate the citation.

Synced across every device:
All your work is synced and stored across every device and on RefME.com, where you’ll find a more extensive interface and even more tools at your disposal.

Desktop users can also make use of RefME’s handy WebClipper add-on for Google Chrome, which places a ‘Cite’ button into the top of your browser. This lets you instantly add a citation for the web page or online journal you’re currently viewing, straight into the relevant project on RefME.


While at university, we both found the entire referencing process vital but necessary. Existing tools were either poor, incorrect or had a big learning curve. We knew that if we could create a tool that was easy to use and had high quality output then we could dominate the market. RefME is that tool.


We started developing RefME in August 2013 and we are still working on making the tool the best it can be. Over the coming academic year, we will be launching tools that will improve the broader research process for students, and provide analytics and other valuable tools giving insight for libraries and institutions.

We have a bottom up marketing strategy targeting students that has really made them connect with the product. We started by testing more than 50 channels to get an answer to the question: “how do we make referencing sexy?” Ultimately we found that students simply hate referencing and that has pretty much been all our message needed to be!


This year, the publishing market is valued at $151bn and, as of last year, the global edtech and e-learning market was worth $91bn. RefME launched in March 2014 and since inception it’s seen a revolution from the ground up with almost a million students joining and 3-5M global users forecast within the next 12 months. To date, students have created close to 10 million references and are continuing to power the RefME data engine.

Alongside the surge in student users, RefME has established relationships with almost half of all UK universities, including the likes of St Andrews, Westminster and King’s College London. RefME is now forging partnerships with colleges and academic institutions worldwide in order to ensure that their students can use the tool to generate accurate citations in every style used within their institute.


Other citation tools do exist, but they are often either poor, incorrect or have a big learning curve. What sets RefME apart is that it is powerful, easy to use, and provides a number of tools and features to get the job done right. The app and website are supported and accurate and stores all references for simple export for students. They are easy to collaborate on with others. The award winning app is a quick barcode scan and done and students using Google Chrome can make use of the WebClipper feature to instantly create a citation for whichever site they’re on. RefME also saves and syncs in the cloud, so work can be accessed across multiple devices from anywhere at any time.


RefME plans to make money using three revenue models. The first will be a premium version of the app, with better facilities and storage space for a small monthly fee. Second, we are talking to libraries about potential partnerships and licensing deals in Britain. Third, we plan to charge publishers a fee for pushing people towards their books and publications.

# # #


WEBSITE: www.refme.com

FOUNDERS: Tom Hatton, Ian Forshew

INVESTORS: GEMS Education, Angel investors



FACEBOOK: facebook.com/refme

LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/company/referenceme

CRUNCHBASE: crunchbase.com/organization/refme