London-based Perlego, a textbook subscription service serving 28 countries in the European Union, has raised $9 million (7 million) in Series A funding. Charlie Songhurst, Dedicated VC and Thomas Leysen participated in the funding round, along with existing investors ADV, Simon Franks and Alex Chesterman. To date, the three-year-old textbook provider has raised about $15 million, reports EdSurge. The company says it will use the new capital to expand into new European markets and improve its non-English content.
Catering specifically to countries in the EU, Perlego partners with more than 2,300 publishers, including many well-known American publishers like Pearson, Simon & Schuster, Kaplan, Princeton University Press, Cengage Learning and Wiley. For students, Perlego offers two plans: an annual plan for 10 per month (when paid annually) or 15 per month (when paid monthly), following a 14-day free trial. University students get an additional 20% discount. The company says it offers more than 250,000 titles on more than 500 topics, including best-sellers, and it offers curated reading lists, all accessible from iOS and Android devices on the go.
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What sets Perlego apart from competitors like Cengage Learning is that they offer books for professionals, in addition to college students, and they offer bestselling non-fiction books. The curated reading lists are organized by topic, so if you wanted to read about leadership, Perlego would offer you a list of top leadership books like The Leaders Guide to Emotional Agility, The Leadership Handbook, Co-Active Leadership: Fives Ways to Lead, Positive Leadership and more. Perlego tells you who curated the list and their credentials for making their recommendations.
The Perlego story is an interesting and familiar one. Co-founders Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis were students who used subscriptions for a lot of things, but they couldnt find one for textbooks. They bought pricey textbooks theyd only use once or twice. They wanted to remove this financial burden from todays students by offering a subscription service with both textbooks and non-fiction books to help students learn in an affordable way. What they are doing seems to be working. TechCrunch reports that Perlego has a 116% increase in new subscribers month over month.
Our ambition is to become the worlds online learning library, a single place where learners can instantly access all of the worlds academic content for less than the price of a single book, says the Perlego Careers page.
The company shares its core values on its website in a fun and endearing way.
It is clear that parents and students need a more affordable way to cover education costs. Companies like Perlego see a huge opportunity to provide a valuable service. What we particularly like about this one is that it was started by students who saw a big need. They designed a subscription service that they themselves would have paid for. Their website and blog exude this fresh perspective and refreshing company culture that is absent from some of the larger companies. Wed love to see Perlego scale their company and perhaps at some point go global.