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BibliU Raises $10 Million Series A to Scale Digital Textbook Library and Platform

By Henry Kronk
April 20, 2020

The London-based BibliU announced on April 17 that it had raised a $10 million Series A. Nesta Impact Investments led the funding and were joined by Guinness Asset Management, ClearlySo, and Stonehage Fleming.

Launched in 2014, BibliU’s platform offers numerous tools and services for education stakeholders to make better use of textbooks, class material, and other content. Their library compiles both proprietary published material and OER. Students using the platform have access to accessibility tools and a search function that scans BibliU’s entire library.

BibliU Brokers Digital Content Access and Delivers It to Institutions as a Single Service

Institutions, libraries, and faculties, meanwhile, have digital content access options brokered by a third party that would otherwise entail numerous contracts. BibliU’s platform also provides detailed user analytics and syncs with an institution’s learning management system.

“As a student at Oxford and the University of Western Australia, I would’ve loved to have had access to this content online for free,” said CEO Dave Sherwood, in a statement. “That’s why I founded BibliU and I’m proud to say we’ve addressed that for hundreds of thousands of students at our partner universities. We’re investing in our team and continuing to develop our institutional delivery tools. I’m also thrilled to have Sean Devine joining our board as Chairman, his experience as CEO and President of CourseSmart and Safari Books Online brings invaluable industry experience to our team. BibliU is proud to be an innovator for higher education, building an accessible solution for modern students – ensuring that amidst a growing necessity for remote education – textbooks and research materials are accessible to every student.”

Expanding on the Textbook Subscription Model

On the publisher end, BibliU offers to distribute their content to a wider audience. In exchange, publishers sign a revenue share agreement.

In real terms, many large incumbent textbook publishers like Cengage, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill have advanced efforts to make their textbooks digital and, in Cengage’s case, offer access to their library with a subscription.

Each of these publishers, however, partners with BibliU as well to deliver their content to institutions.

“Now more than ever before, education institutions have the opportunity to harness technology to deliver new ways of learning,” said Nesta Investment Director Lisa Barclay, in a statement. “Nesta is delighted to be investing in BibliU, to support equal access to course materials for all students.”

Looking Forward

As part of the funding round, Barclay will join BibliU’s board. The Series A brings the company’s total venture funding to $15.6 million, according to Crunchbase.

The company says they plan to use the funds to continue scaling their business. In partnership with Coventry University in the U.K., BibliU says they created Europe’s largest digital content library.

The educational publishing market was already in flux before the outbreak of COVID-19. As the pandemic set in with full force around the world, many publishers have opened up free access to their content online. It remains to be seen where the chips will fall in educational publishing once the outbreak subsides.

Featured Image: Gery Wibowo, Unsplash.

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