Perlego has raised £38 million in Series B funding.
The online textbook subscription service featured on our recent EdTech 50 innovation ranking and says it aims to make learning accessible to all.
The round was led by Mediahuis Ventures, the venture capital firm of European media group Mediahuis, with participation from Raine Ventures, the venture capital arm of Raine Group, and Evli Growth Partners.
It includes a syndicate of strategic publishers as well as angel investors such as learning platform Kahoot’s founders Jamie Brooker and Johan Brand through their We Are Human fund.
With this funding, Perlego will accelerate its growth globally and especially in the US, where students are struggling with the rising costs of education, remote learning and course completion.
University students’ outcomes are tightly linked to access to course content, but the current model for acquiring quality educational material does not work for them or for publishers. Textbook prices have been soaring for decades. Today, 35% of students earn poor grades because of textbook costs, and 65% skipped buying them in 2021.
Instead, students are increasingly turning to piracy and the secondary market, with over a billion publications downloaded illegally each year, resulting in a 23% decline in publisher revenue.
Perlego provides university students with unlimited access to content and study tools, aggregating the majority of global publishers. It says it helps publishers meet students at a price point that works for all parties by recovering revenue lost to piracy and the used books market, as well as removing costs of printing and distribution. In 2021, it claimed to intercept searches for more than 2.5m planned illegal downloads.
Publishers access a price-sensitive audience through Perlego’s revenue-shared model and get deep insights on the usage of their content. The platform 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. 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.
“We built Perlego to help make learning more accessible and affordable for all,” said Gauthier Van Malderen, CEO. “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.”