HT2 Labs, the company behind social learning platform Curatr and learning record store Learning Locker, has won investment from the the City & Guilds Group’s £2.5 million New Venture Fund.
The funding will enable HT2 labs to grow its current product offering in Western Europe and the US and to continue to develop its research and development work. It aims to grow from generating an annual turnover of £1m and employing 20 people to an annual turnover of £3m and employing 70 people in three years’ time.
Ben Betts, CEO of HT2 Labs comments: ‘This is a tremendously exciting time to be working at HT2 Labs. The success and growth of our products has attracted a great deal of investor attention, but it has been with John Yates and his team at the New Venture Fund that we’ve seen the greatest synergies. Whilst this investment is primarily focused towards accelerating our already rapid growth, we stand to inherit a range of wonderful secondary benefits from working with the City & Guilds Group as it seeks to tackle the skills gap with smart data and #technology. We will expand our UK headquarters in Oxford, from 15 to more than 30 people over the next 18 months, whilst also doubling down on our new US office in Boston, which has been a great success for us since opening in January.’
The investment reflects growing interest in the market for non-traditional approaches to learning technologies that sit outside of learning management systems. Betts says that corporates are starting to develop an ecosystem of technologies around their LMS. HT2’s suite of products includes social learning technology, learning analytics and personal learning stores. “Investors are seeing evidence that learning analytics and learning record stores might be a thing,” he says.
Betts also says the investment brings HT2 Labs closer to one of the biggest suppliers to further education, which will complement and support its work on data, analytics and xAPI. “This is a big endorsement for xAPI,” he adds.
HT2 Labs previously worked with the City & Guilds Group to build the City & Guilds TechBac™ online platform which combines technical qualifications with a workplace skills programme for 14-19 year olds.
John Yates, New Ventures Director, City & Guilds Group adds: “City & Guilds Group colleagues have been working with Ben and HT2 Labs for some time. We know that the team are highly motivated and share our commitment to supporting learning – we share a common real-life research agenda to create solutions that businesses need to improve the performance of their staff and teams. We’re particularly excited to support the development of a powerful, insightful learning analytic engine, and the delivery of informal, social learning to corporate markets.”
The City & Guilds Group will take a minority equity stake in the company and as a part of the investment, the City & Guilds Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Sven Laux will be joining HT2 Labs board of directors.