Oxford EdTech company raises £800K to “disrupt online education”

Photo shows Rupert Pennant-Rea
Rupert Pennent Rae

Oxford-based EdTech company, Learning with Experts, has just completed its latest funding round above target, raising £800k with an impressive group of High Net Worth Angels.

The investment followed an investor showcase pitch to The Oxford Opportunity Network (OION), at investment house Rathbones. New investors joining via The Oxford Investment Opportunity Network Ltd (OION), a leading UK Angel Network, include New Chairman, Rupert Pennant-Rea – former editor of The Economist & Deputy Governor of The Bank of England

CEO/Founder Elspeth Briscoe, formerly eBay, The Guardian, and ‘Skype Mafia’ said: “The raise is enabling us to execute on our hiring plan, to scale our B to B, tech development and marketing teams and to hire new A list tutors for our consumer product. We intend to drive the next education revolution beyond the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), with our unique approach to community based, trusted, high quality, global interactive online learning. MOOCs have 80% drop out rates. Learning with Experts has 80% course completion rates.”

“We’re seeing rapid growth both in the B to C and B to B sectors. We already have 55 experts teaching consumers, including Shane Connolly, florist and Royal Warrant holder, BBC Good Food and BBC Gardener’s World Magazine, Paula Pryke OBE, Antiques Roadshow Experts, World Class Landscape Designers with many other household names in the pipeline. Business clients are also partnering at a pace, enabling us to offer serious accredited vocational qualifications including The Royal Horticultural Society Level 2 training, and courses from The Goldsmiths Centre, part of The Goldsmiths Company.”

New investors joining this round include Rupert Pennant-Rea, Learning with Expert’s new Chairman, former editor of The Economist and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Rupert commented: “I love the education space, and I’m a great believer in life-long learning, having just completed a GCSE in Science aged 71. I believe Learning with Experts has the right combination of people and product, and will be capable of disrupting online adult vocational learning. I’m excited to have joined at this stage.”

Jens Tholstrup, Managing Director, OION commented: “Congratulations to Learning With Experts on completing its current fund raising. This follows a very impressive pitch by Elspeth Briscoe at the OION Investor Showcase event held at Rathbones’ Head Office in May. We are delighted that Rupert Pennant-Rea has been appointed Chairman following our introduction”

Christine Hayes, Editor in Chief, BBC Good Food says: “For 30 years we’ve been showing Britain how to cook, making it easy to create good food every day. Our partnership with Learning with Experts facilitates an even closer relationship with our audience, allowing food enthusiasts across the world access to our knowledgeable, approachable food editors and the opportunity to interact and learn in a virtual classroom”.

NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Learning with Experts
Learning with Experts has a unique community based online learning offering. It’s an acclaimed company in the vocational online consumer learning space, as well as partnering with established educators to develop accredited online learning programmes. Learning with Experts’ unique combination of ‘tribal community classrooms’, combined with broadcast style curriculum content, and trusted world experts has given it a disruptive stance in an under-developed space. Learning with Experts believes in using human interaction to eliminate the isolation of distance learning through unique online classrooms.
Learning with Experts has 33k registered learners, 7.5k paying students, 80% completion rates, students in 58 countries. It doubled sales from 2017 to 2018 and there have been over 10,000 lessons taught. Learning with Experts has won several awards for edtech and innovation including Best Website (Garden Media Awards), Best Education Site (Good Web Guide), and Finalist for Barclays Award for Innovation, Oxford Trust Enterprise Awards 2019. Elspeth Briscoe is one of a very few women CEO founders who has secured VC and angel investment (only 2-4% of VC money goes to women founders).