Folens seeks new e-learning opportunities
AN INVESTMENT fund owned by Irish schoolbook giant Folens is seeking to invest in new start-up companies in the learning technology sector.
Leaf Investments intends to invest between €250,000 and €1m over the next two to three years in early-stage companies either as part of a syndicate or as sole investor.
Folens has already launched a new online and mobile learning company, Tallaght-based Apierian, which is initially developing products for the UK. It also acquired primary school resources supplier Carroll Education in early 2012.
With Leaf Investments, the educational publisher intends to capture the success of e-learning products which use electronic media and technology as learning tools.
Investment bank servicing company IBS Capital valued this market at €91bn globally in 2012 and forecasts an average growth rate of 23pc every year until 2017.
Leaf partner Hugh O'Driscoll said now is a really interesting time to invest in learning technologies since advances in digital and mobile technologies are enabling more immersive learning experiences.
"The increased attention the sector is receiving from mainstream funds underlines this," he said.
In 2012 the fund invested in two Irish businesses. Empower The User (ETU), a provider of roleplay simulation technology, secured over €500,000 from Leaf, Enterprise Ireland and private investors to expand its sales operations in Europe.
StoryToys, inventors of the first digital pop-up book, secured €750,000 early-stage funding from a syndicate of investors. StoryToys now provides "edutainment" apps including 3D interactive digital story books for children.