An arm of Nesta, the global innovation agency, is investing millions of pounds in an education company that works with more than 40% of British universities to provide digital access to textbooks and research materials.
Sky News understands that Nesta Impact Investments, which backs ‘mission-led’ companies with the objective of seeking a social and financial return, is leading a $10m Series-A funding round for BibliU, a digital learning platform.
The deal, which will be announced this week, will also include backing from Guinness Asset Management and investment clients of Stonehage Fleming, the international family office.
Talks about the funding round began several months ago, prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
Start-up investors say, however, that edtech is among the technology-driven sectors expected to benefit from longer-term changes in consumption that may be driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demand for online learning is also expected to grow as more adults work from home, rather than offices.
“BibliU is proud to be an innovator for higher education, building an accessible solution for modern students – ensuring that amidst a growing necessity for remote education – textbooks and research materials are accessible to every student,” Dave Sherwood, chief executive, said.
The company, which counts Oxford University and Imperial College London among its customers, aids students’ ability to access learning material using online platforms.
It also works with more than 2000 education publishers.
BibliU claims to have created Europe’s largest digital education content programme through a partnership with Coventry University.
Alongside the funding round, Sean Devine, an education sector veteran, is joining BibliU as chairman.
“Now more than ever before, education institutions have the opportunity to harness technology to deliver new ways of learning,” Lisa Barclay, an investment director at Nesta, said.