A Birmingham based technology company has secured investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), provided by The FSE Group Debt Finance Fund and backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme, to support further growth of the business.
Learning Labs has developed FlashAcademy®, a leading UK digital education platform, which is used by schools and colleges across the UK to support teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL). The £250,000 MEIF funding will be used to create new jobs and expand its digital marketing department.
The award-winning FlashAcademy® app teaches English from almost 50 different languages, providing an independent learning experience on any device, smartphone, tablet or PC that can be used in a classroom setting or for remote learning.
The app uses a mix of digital lessons, gamification and the world’s first object translator where the user can take a photo of any object to be instantly translated. The software is currently being used in almost 1,000 schools across the UK and is supporting over 250,000 individual learners.
Veejay Lingiah, Learning Labs CEO, said: “At Learning Labs we believe that every child and young person across the UK deserves to be getting the best from their education experience. Our product supports teachers in unlocking the potential of non-native-speaking students without the need for time and budget resources that many schools and colleges do not have. With this MEIF loan, FSE has provided the right funding at the right time to support this next phase of our growth as we continue to develop our offering, expand into the FE market, and further scale the business.”
Harriet Saunders, Portfolio Manager at The FSE Group, commented: “Learning Labs has been on a high-growth trajectory since creating its EAL offering in 2018. Having already attracted significant equity investment, its management was keen not to dilute ownership with further equity at this stage. We are delighted to provide this market-leading business with the growth funding needed to support it through this next phase of growth and look forward to working with this innovative team.”
There are currently over 1.6m EAL pupils in the UK, representing 1 in 5 at primary school and 1 in 6 at secondary school. In more than 4000 schools this accounts for over 30% of their pupil cohort. Learning Labs, which builds all its products internally, with in-house development, design, content and product management teams, is well-placed to support the growing EAL and ESOL markets across all age groups.
Tracy Sherratt, Senior Manager UK Network at British Business Bank, said: “The MEIF supports businesses across the Midlands that provide a range of innovative products and services, with Flash Academy’s award winning app proving their success to date. The MEIF continues to provide funding to companies across the Midlands to help develop the wider region with continued job creation and more investment.”
The Midlands Engine 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 2014-2022 and the European Investment Bank. The FSE Group manages a section of MEIF that provides investments between £100,000 and £1.5 million to support growing SMEs across the region. For more information visit: www.thefsegroup.com/fund/midlands-engine-investment-fund-debt-finance.