Edtech platform raises further £3m as it targets international expansion
A platform that helps parents and students to find online tutors has raised a further £3m investment amidst a boom in business following the pandemic.
Tutorful has secured funding from Mercia’s Northern Venture Capital Trust (VCT) funds and NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
The Sheffield-based platform achieved a 376% growth in revenue from online tuition during 2020 as students took to distance learning, whether to support their existing school or university studies or to learn new hobbies and skills. The triple-digit growth has also continued well into 2021.
Founded in 2015, Tutorful now has over 11,000 registered tutors covering more than 300 subjects. Around 70% of clients are children, with the remainder being adults who can learn anything from languages to music, computer programming or even get help with a PhD course.
Tutorful’s innovative virtual classroom ensures a smooth, interactive learning experience while features such as scheduling and billing enable tutors to build their business and attract clients online.
Tutorful currently employs 55 permanent staff and recently launched in France and Ireland. The company initially raised £3.5m from the Northern VCTs in 2019. The latest funding round will allow it to further enhance the platform, expand into new international markets and create around 27 additional jobs at its Sheffield headquarters.
Mark Hughes, co-founder and CEO, said:
“Online learning now plays a key role in education but nothing can replace the benefits of one to one tuition. Tutorful offers the best of both worlds – it offers students easy access to some of the best teachers in the UK while leveraging the power of technology to make learning more fun and engaging. The platform has potential for use worldwide and this latest investment will help us to expand into other overseas markets.”
Ishaan Chilkoti of Mercia said:
“The pandemic has accelerated the uptake of online learning. Tutorful’s growth shows that students have bought into and understand the benefits of online tuition and are happy to continue learning this way in the future. This latest funding round will help it to further expand its services and make tuition more accessible to all.”
Melanie Ellyard at British Business Bank said:
“The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is pleased to be supporting Tutorul to take the next step, as it looks to further develop its platform and grow internationally. Amidst an especially challenging time for the education sector, it has stepped up, sought the opportunity and been rewarded accordingly.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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Mercia Asset Management PLC
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About Mercia Asset Management PLC
Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Connected Capital’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.
The Group has a strong UK footprint through its regional offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£940million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested c.£111million gross into its direct investment portfolio.
The Group raises its own Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and manages Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.
Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –
- Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
- Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
- EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560
About The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund will invest in Microfinance, Business Loans and Equity Finance sub-funds which will offer financing ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity.
- The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company.
- The NPIF covers the following LEP areas: Tees Valley Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Lancashire, Hull and East Yorkshire, Leeds City Region, Sheffield City Region, and York & North Yorkshire
- The project is receiving up to £140,359,192 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
- The funds in which Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations, or planning to open material operations, in, Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and Tees Valley.
- The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb