Perlego, the world’s largest online textbook subscription service, today announces the close of a $50 million Series B funding round 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. The round 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 1bn publications downloaded illegally each year, resulting in a 23% decline in publisher revenue.
Perlego has a bold mission to make learning more affordable and accessible by providing university students with unlimited access to the content and study tools they need to succeed. It’s the only online learning platform to aggregate the majority of global publishers in a convenient and affordable all-you-can-read subscription model.
Perlego 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, they intercepted searches for more than 2.5M planned illegal downloads.
- Students, instead of buying individual textbooks that are used in part or just once, access the entire library of learning materials in one simple space, from any device, for an affordable subscription fee.
- Publishers access a price-sensitive audience through Perlego’s revenue-shared model and get deep insights on the usage of their content.
- Educators easily provide quality materials to their students, and effectively design and deliver their courses, bridging course engagement across the physical and digital space.
The company is also developing a community where knowledge can be shared for a more collaborative learning experience, starting with the recent launch of Workspaces, an all-in-one space for learning materials. This investment will enable the company to roll out further products and features, as well as expand in North America.
Students have recognised the benefit of Perlego’s platform, and it’s 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.
Perlego continues to onboard new publishers, and 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. Perlego grew it’s library of textbooks by 166% in 2021, making it the world’s largest available by subscription by far.
Born out of personal frustration as students, Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis founded Perlego in 2017. Gauthier, CEO of Perlego, said: “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.”
Paul Verwilt, COO at Mediahuis, said: “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, said: “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 said: “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.”
Johan Brand, Founder at Kahoot said: “Through our own journey with Kahoot, we’ve seen that the education industry has only just begun to harness the power of technology to deliver great education with great outcomes for students. Perlego is tackling an important part of the puzzle for university students with a clear mission to help them access the content they need to succeed. When we met them, we knew we had to back such a passionate and committed team.”
Perlego is on a mission to make learning accessible and affordable for all. The world’s largest online textbook subscription service, Perlego is the only true Netflix for textbooks, giving learners unlimited access to over 800,000+ educational titles in one simple space, at an affordable price. Today, university students from over 6,000 institutions across 172 countries use Perlego to learn.
Through a convenient and affordable solution for students, Perlego helps publishers recover revenues increasingly lost to piracy and the secondary market. It’s the only platform to aggregate the majority of global education publishers, such as Cengage, Routledge, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Harvard University Press, on an all-you-can-read model, offering titles from over 5,000 publishers, across 900 topics in 6 languages.