Learning with Experts raises £800k to disrupt online education

The Oxford-based company has also appointed Rupert Pennant-Rea as chairman

Learning with Experts has just completed its latest funding round above target, raising £800k with an impressive group of High Net Worth (HNW) Angels. The investment followed an investor showcase pitch to The Oxford Opportunity Network (OION), at Rathbones. New investors joining this round via OION include Rupert Pennant-Rea, Learning with Expert’s new chairman, former editor of The Economist and deputy governor of The Bank of England.

CEO/founder Elspeth Briscoe, formerly eBay, The Guardian, and ‘Skype Mafia’ explained: “The raise is enabling us to execute on our hiring plan, to scale our B2B, 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% dropout rates. Learning with Experts has 80% course completion rates.”

MOOCs have 80% drop out rates. Learning with Experts has 80% course completion rates.
– Elspeth Biscoe, CEO/founder

“We’re seeing rapid growth both in the B2C and B2B 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.”

Pennant-Rea commented: “I love the education space, and I’m a great believer in lifelong 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 fundraising. 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, said: “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”.