Downing Ventures leads BBC Maestro’s second funding round after successful launch
2 February 2021: Following the launch of BBC Maestro in October 2020, Downing Ventures is delighted to announce it has led the second £2.05 million funding round with a first investment close confirmed today, with additional funding supported by Great Point Ventures.
BBC Maestro offers courses that are taught by some of the most experienced and talented creators in the world. At a time when people are confined to their homes, BBC Maestro has really caught the public imagination. It has far exceeded its sales forecasts, having already offered its exciting, education experiences to several thousand people across the UK.
As an Ed-Tech video led e-learning platform, BBC Maestro goes beyond simple learning. It offers insights from those who have risen to the very summit of their craft, whether it’s Gary Barlow teaching Songwriting, David Walliams teaching how to Write Books for Children, Jed Mercurio on how to script a television drama like Line of Duty and Bodyguard, or Marco Pierre White using his years as the UK’s greatest chef, to teach the home cook how to get those three star flavours simply at home. As Managing Director, Michael Levine puts it:
“So much of education is about inspiration. What each Maestro uniquely offers is an opportunity to learn from someone who has actually lived it, rather than just read about it. A huge amount of the positive feedback we’ve received since we launched two months ago is about understanding where the Maestro struggled, as much as how they succeeded. People are learning so much from these incredible people. More than just the skills and techniques, they’re being inspired. What we want BBC Maestro to offer is permission to take those first step towards your dreams.”
The last year has seen a rise of video content as a productive medium for educational consumption, with online EdTech being adopted across generations with renewed vigour. The global e-learning market is growing year-on-year with the market size of Mass Open Online Courses expected to reach $20.8 billion by 2023, fueled by unique platforms, such as BBC Maestro.
In 2021, a further nine Maestri will be launching courses via the service with the likes of Helena Bonham Carter teaching Acting, Sir Tim Rice teaching Performing and Writing Musical Theatre, Head Dragon, Peter Jones teaching the Tools for Success, Julia Donaldson teaching Writing Picture Books, Heston Blumenthal teaching Culinary Invention at Home.
Despite initially marketing the service to UK consumers, BBC Maestro has seen strong international interest from all over the world. The latest funding round will allow BBC Maestro to expand marketing efforts and accelerate talent acquisition and production while also transitioning the service to a subscription all-access pass later this year.
Richard Lewis, Partner at Downing Ventures further comments:
“Downing is delighted to lead an additional funding round to support the ongoing expansion of BBC Maestro. In the last 12 months, the company has successfully built and launched an e-learning video platform that allows consumers to learn from leading experts in a particular field. We will see a number of new courses from high profile experts launched on the platform, providing a richer experience for an international audience.”
The service is available at www.bbcmaestro.com
For more information, please contact Lallie Fraser, [email protected] +44 (0) 7743 077773
Notes to Editors
BBC Maestro, operates in partnership with BBC Studios. It is an independent business which is not funded by the licence fee.
About BBC Studios
BBC Studios, a global content company with bold British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group. Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen and beyond, its activities span content financing, development, production, sales, branded services, and ancillaries across both its own productions, and programmes and formats made by high-quality UK independents. Award-winning British programmes made by the business are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, with brands like Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear, Doctor Who and Bluey. BBC Studios has offices in 22 markets globally, including ten production bases in the UK and production bases or partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which ordinarily makes around 2,500 hours of content a year for both the BBC and third parties including Apple, Amazon and China Mobile, is a champion for British creativity around the world. It is also a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector through a mix of equity partnerships, content investment and international distribution for programme titles. To the BBC, BBC Studios contributes both cash dividends and funds for programme-making, supporting the licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences.
ABOUT DOWNING VENTURES
Downing Ventures is an evergreen fund investing in seed to Series A companies, with the possibility of follow-on investments. We invest in a variety of technology sectors including Healthcare, Deep Tech, Industry 4.0/Mobility, FinTech and Enterprise. We have a portfolio of 71 companies as of September 2020. We work alongside a number of investment partners and accelerator programmes and incubators, including the London Co-Investment Fund. www.downingventures.com
ABOUT GREAT POINT VENTURES AND THE GREAT POINT GROUP
Great Point’s Ventures division specialises in funding early stage UK creative businesses, from exciting production companies through to innovative media distribution and technology platforms.
Founded in 2013 by Robert Halmi and Jim Reeve, the wider Great Point Group specialises in the development, investment, distribution and sales of intellectual property in entertainment media. To date, the Group has funded over 180 projects and invested in excess of £500 million in the creative industries. Television credits include Steve McQueen’s Small Axe, Line of Duty, Brexit, Harlots and Doc Martin amongst many others; film titles include Greenland, The Party and Lady Macbeth.