Learning Pool Agrees to a Strategic Investment
Derry (IRL), June 2021 - Learning Pool, a strategic leader in the U.K. and U.S. learning technology markets, has agreed to a new investment from Marlin Equity Partners ("Marlin"), a global investment firm with over $7.6 billion of capital under management, to support the company's continued growth. Under the terms of the agreement, Marlin will also acquire the shareholding of Carlyle Cardinal Ireland.
Learning Pool's integrated suite of digital learning products and services has enabled more than 1,100 companies to migrate their training initiatives to modern cloud technology, including global brands like The FA, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Sky, and Swiss Re.
Learning Pool helps companies at every stage of the employee lifecycle, creating engaging onboarding experiences, rigorous compliance training, and meaningful skills development opportunities for more than five million learners every year.
Founded in Northern Ireland and currently ranked as one of the top 60 Large Best Companies to Work for in the U.K., Learning Pool's expert workforce has grown to more than 260 employees across the U.K. and U.S. The Marlin investment will facilitate further job creation, with plans already in place to hire an additional 100 Learning Pool employees across the group this year alone.
Since the initial investment from Carlyle Cardinal Ireland in 2016, Learning Pool has experienced dramatic growth, as revenue has increased fourfold during this time. The company has also been at the forefront of launching next-generation learning technology products and has received multiple awards for outstanding customer service. In addition, Learning Pool has made four acquisitions in four years, most recently acquiring the U.S.-based LMS expert Remote Learner, which enhanced the company's presence in the U.S. market. Marlin is expected to help accelerate growth both organically and through additional acquisitions.
Speaking about the investment, Learning Pool Group CEO Paul McElvaney said, "Over the past five years, we have achieved phenomenal growth with the fantastic support of Carlyle Cardinal Ireland, and we're very grateful for the help and encouragement we've had from the team. We're delighted to have found the right partner to help us continue our momentum and grow the Learning Pool brand globally. Marlin has an incredible heritage in helping businesses like ours scale and innovate. We're excited to be working with them and confident that both our customers and our team will see immediate benefits from Marlin's investment. Learning Pool's entire executive management team has re-invested in the company, providing a compelling foundation upon which we'll build the next phase of growth."
Jan-Olivier Fillols, a managing director at Marlin Equity Partners, said, "Learning Pool has achieved significant growth through its customer-centric philosophy and is a unique end-to-end eLearning proposition. We believe the business is extremely well positioned to capitalize on a highly attractive market opportunity, and we are excited to partner with an exceptional team to drive both organic and inorganic growth together."
Jonathan Cosgrave, Partner at Melior Equity Partners, which advises the CCI fund on behalf of Carlyle, said, "Learning Pool's success in growing revenue and profits fourfold through organic growth and acquisition, while tripling employee numbers and launching next-generation learning products, clearly demonstrates the potential of founder-led Irish technology companies when partnered with an investor that facilitates a strong growth environment. The performance of Learning Pool's management team and employees has been exceptional, and we wish them continued success for the future."
John Dolan, Managing Director, Cardinal Capital Group said, "Learning Pool has been a great growth story for CCI. When we invested originally, the company had 80 employees in one office, predominantly servicing U.K. public-sector customers. It now has over 260 employees across six offices around the world, and over 30% of the revenue comes from North America. This is a classic example of the benefits we can bring to an Irish company willing to look west instead of east for accelerated growth. Paul and Louise McElvaney are outstanding entrepreneurs who have built a fabulous culture in which all employees look after each other. This has proven to be a huge asset to the company during the COVID pandemic."