Tuesday 16 October 2018

Learnosity: Education tech company top of the class

Learnosity

Michael McGivern
Michael McGivern
THE IDEAS GUYS: Mark Lynch, left, and Gavin Cooney, co-founders of Learnosity

Learnosity quietly partners with the biggest names in education globally, providing some of the more complex and valuable parts of the best educational technology products in the world.

In a single sentence, Learnosity is an award-winning educational technology company.

Its cloud-based, assessment toolkit enables clients – primarily educational publishers and testing companies – to quickly and easily incorporate assessment, as well as authoring and reporting capabilities, into their existing applications, eBooks and websites.

"It's all part of a grander plan," say Irish co-founders Gavin Cooney and Mark Lynch. "We believe that the pace of innovation in education has lagged behind that of other industries. We want to change this. Our vision is to be at the centre of every product that touches every student in the world."

To achieve this, Learnosity provides a developer toolkit to educational publishers and testing companies. This toolkit not only provides market-leading technology but also significantly decreases time to market.

Headquartered in both Dublin and Sydney, Learnosity is opening a New York city office this summer. Growing rapidly, Learnosity is recruiting for all three offices over the coming months.

Michael McGivern
Partner, International Tax, RSM Farrell Grant Sparks:

It is vital for companies like Learnosity to build a solid base from which to grow their international expansion and we believe that appropriate and early tax structuring is a vital part of this base.

Through our international network with RSM International, we have assisted Learnosity and a number of other large internationally active Irish technology companies to ensure that their Irish and international operations are built on a firm foundation.

The issues with which we work with Learnosity and similar clients include maximising the benefits of Ireland's 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate while operating in international markets, how to fund international expansion, how to repatriate foreign profits to Ireland, how to make best use in Ireland of any taxes paid in the foreign jurisdictions, considering the effects of possible withholding taxes and sales taxes (VAT). Tax-efficient employee remuneration and foreign payroll taxes should also feature prominently in such advisory services.

Niall May,
Director, Audit and Advisory, RSM Farrell Grant Sparks:

As we currently work with a number of Ireland's largest and most successful technology companies, we are in a strong position to support Learnosity as it continues to develop its innovative products and excellent service offerings whilst experiencing rapid international growth.

For any tech firm considering international expansion, there are a number of accounting and finance areas that should be considered. Of particular significance is cash flow which is the life blood of any business. In addition, appropriate and relevant accounting policies for revenue recognition are crucial to ensure that the financial statements are fit for purpose.

It is of fundamental importance that all stakeholders know that revenue recognition policies are appropriate and are consistently applied, given the company's markets, growth strategy and funding requirements.

We have found the Learnosity team to be very proactive in engaging in a timely manner to ensure that the necessary tools are in place to assist with its international expansion.

David Holland,
Senior Manager, Corporate Finance, RSM Farrell Grant Sparks:

Since its establishment, the Learnosity founders have overseen rapid international growth and expansion, which continues today. The key factor for Learnosity in driving this growth, and which applies to most businesses, has been selling a product which the market needs and is prepared to pay for.

It is critical for the founders that they have sufficient funding to support their future expansion plans. Learnosity is well placed to obtain sufficient funding, as we have found that investors and finance providers in Ireland are supportive of businesses expanding into international markets.

Learnosity's impressive growth to date has been achieved organically and while this is likely to continue, it may be supplemented by the company making acquisitions, either targeted or opportunistic.

In our experience, acquisitions, particularly cross-border ones, can be complicated and as such we recommend that all growing companies engage professional advisers to assist with this process.

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