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London edtech scores $50M to become the ‘Netflix of textbooks’

Perlego
Image credits: Perlego

Perlego, an online library that provides students with unlimited access to over 650,000 academic titles with built-in learning tools, today announced the close of a $50M in Series B funding round. 

The round was led by Mediahuis Ventures, with participation from Raine Ventures and Evli Growth Partners. 

Additionally, a syndicate of strategic publishers and angel investors like learning platform Kahoot’s founders Jamie Brooker and Johan Brand, through their We Are Human fund participated.

The latest capital injection will enable Perlego to accelerate its growth globally, especially in the US. 

How Perlego was born?

Not so long ago, Perlego founders Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis were students struggling to pay for textbooks, like so many of their peers.

As the prices of textbooks continue to increase, it leaves students at a point where they cannot afford the resources they need. According to the report, 35% of students earn poor grades because of textbook costs, and 65% skip buying them in 2021. 

Another report states that students are increasingly turning to piracy and the secondary market, with over 1B publications downloaded illegally each year, resulting in a 23% decline in publisher revenue. 

Besides students, these limitations also leave researchers, authors, and the publishing industry at a loss.

As a result, Perlego was born to provide an affordable textbook solution for learners globally by partnering with publishers and removing the costs of print, distribution, and retail markup.

Gauthier, CEO of Perlego, says, “We built Perlego to help make learning more accessible and affordable for all. We’re meeting learners where they are, online while helping the publishing industry move to digital in a way that works for them. This investment will help us bring our platform to more people and give them important additional learning tools. With deep experience in helping technology companies grow, we’re thrilled to be working with the Raine Group and Evli, and to continue our partnership with Mediahuis Ventures.”   

Image credits: Perlego

World’s largest online textbook subscription service

Based out of London, Perlego is the world’s largest online textbook subscription service. The company, which aims to be the Netflix of textbook provide learners unlimited access to over 800,000+ educational titles on a single platform at an affordable price. 

By offering an affordable solution for students, the UK company helps publishers recover revenues increasingly lost to piracy and the secondary market.

Perlego claims that it has attracted over 400,000 users from more than 6,000 institutions in 172 countries, 40% of whom are in the US. In the last year alone, Perlego saw 450% subscriber growth.

As the company continues to onboard new publishers, it now offers 800,000 textbooks in six languages from 5,000 of the world’s top education publishers, including Cengage, Routledge, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, and Harvard University Press. 

The company has increased its library of textbooks by 166% in 2021, making it the world’s largest available by subscription by far.

Investors

Mediahuis Ventures is the venture capital firm of a Belgian newspaper publishing and broadcast media company Mediahuis

Paul Verwilt, COO at Mediahuis, says, “Perlego is changing the equation for university students, helping them access course resources, while also enabling publishers to move online and harness new revenue opportunities. We’ve watched the company soar since our first investment, and are excited to double down on our commitment to the company in their Series B. Making independent information accessible to society is at the heart of what we do. Mediahuis is pleased to extend its mission further into higher education.” 

Elizabeth Brillman, Venture Capital Partner at Raine Ventures, says, “The market for educational content has lagged other types of content, which have successfully digitized and offered new models of consumption to users. We believe that adoption of an online subscription model in this category is inevitable and that Perlego’s platform and business model will lead the education industry in this digital shift. We are excited to partner with Gauthier and the entire Perlego team in this journey.” 

Riku Asikainen, Managing Partner at Evli Growth Partners says, “With my personal entrepreneurial background around books, I knew we needed to invest in Perlego. It has the winning combination of an exceptional team, impressive growth to date, and a platform its users love.” 

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