A group of people standing in a socially distanced formation on the rooftop of a London office.
Paul McElvaney (centre right) pictured with representatives from Learning Pool and Marlin Equity Partners. Image: Learning Pool

100 jobs announced at Learning Pool as Derry company gets new owner

16 Jun 2021

Learning Pool expects to fill 100 new jobs across the company’s UK and US offices this year.

In April, The Sunday Times reported that Carlyle Cardinal Ireland had put online education company Learning Pool up for sale. Marlin Equity Partners has now stepped in to acquire the private equity firm’s shareholding and is the new majority owner of the Derry company.

The full terms of Marlin’s investment have not been disclosed but estimates are that Learning Pool had a price tag of around €160m.

This strategic investment from Marlin will support the creation of 100 new jobs at Learning Pool. The company currently employs more than 260 people across the UK and US and plans are already in place to fill the 100 new jobs across the group in 2021.

As well as its headquarters in Derry, Learning Pool has offices in Belfast, Boston, Glasgow, Nottingham and the Oxfordshire village of Combe. The company currently lists roles available across the UK and remote roles in the US on its website.

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Learning Pool provides online training to workplaces around the world. Its suite of digital learning products and services include online courses, platforms, analytics and custom content development. Its client list includes the FA, InterContinental Hotels Group, Sky and Swiss Re. In all, more than 1,100 companies have used Learning Pool to bring their training initiatives to the cloud, be that employee onboarding, compliance training or skills development on the job.

State-backed firm Carlyle Cardinal Ireland acquired a majority share in Learning Pool for a reported £20m in 2016. Since then, Learning Pool has seen four-fold growth.

According to Cardinal Capital Group MD John Dolan: “When we invested originally, the company had 80 employees in one office, predominantly servicing UK public-sector customers. It now has over 260 employees across six offices around the world and with over 30pc of the revenue coming from North America.”

Learning Pool Group CEO Paul McElvaney also cited the company’s “phenomenal growth” over the past five years with the support of Carlyle Cardinal Ireland. “We’re very grateful for the help and encouragement we’ve had from the team. We’re delighted to have found the right partner to help us continue our momentum and grow the Learning Pool brand globally.”

Global investment firm Marlin Equity Partners has more than $7.6bn of capital under management.

Learning Pool expects to continue its current growth trajectory both organically and through further acquisitions. The company has made four acquisitions in as many years, the most recent being Remote Learner in December 2020. Remote Learner is a Colorado-based learning technology company that specialises in a learning management system.

Jonathan Cosgrave of Melior Equity Partners, which advises the Carlyle Cardinal Ireland fund, said Learning Pool’s growth and success “clearly demonstrate the potential of founder-led Irish technology companies when partnered with an investor that facilitates a strong growth environment”.

Dolan added: “Paul and Louise McElvaney are outstanding entrepreneurs who have built a fabulous culture where all employees look after each other, which has been a huge asset to the company during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke is editor of Silicon Republic, having served a few years as managing editor up to 2019. She joined in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly pernickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen.

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