Trinity edtech spin-out ETU gets backing of US investors

25 Aug 2022

Katie Laidlaw and Declan Dagger. Image: ETU

After doubling its annual revenue last year, ETU is riding on a continued wave of demand for its immersive corporate learning platform.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) spin-out ETU has secured “significant” investment that will accelerate the growth of its learning simulation technology.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but RTÉ reports that the edtech company is changing hands following a transaction in the region of €50m.

ETU was founded at TCD more than a decade ago by Dr Declan Dagger, Prof Vincent Wade, Prof Michael Gill and Dr Brian Fitzmaurice. It has links to Adapt, the Science Foundation Ireland research centre based at the university.

Its team has developed an immersive learning platform to help companies provide training for onboarding, compliance, ethics, risk, leadership, sales, customer service and more.

With more than 1m learners globally, clients have included IBM, McKinsey, PwC, Pacific Gas & Electric and EY.

The strategic investment was led by Mission Springs Ventures, a US investment vehicle led by Katie Laidlaw, and Pacific Lake Partners, along with participation from other private investors.

As part of the deal, Laidlaw will assume leadership of the business as CEO, replacing Michael Veale. Co-founder Dagger will continue in his role as chief operating officer.

“ETU is proud of its Irish roots. The company is built on leading-edge research from Trinity College Dublin and our growth has been supported by Enterprise Ireland,” Dagger said.

“That growth trajectory will continue with the new investment. Katie Laidlaw’s business acumen and keen leadership style is the perfect combination to lead ETU forward.”

An increase in demand for tech-based simulations and virtual corporate training has led ETU to expand.

Its workforce has increased four-fold in the last two and a half years. It announced plans at the end of last year to create 100 jobs in Ireland and the US by the end of 2022, including multiple roles focused on next-generation technology that incorporates machine learning and AI.

As employers looked for new ways to upskill and reskill workers, ETU’s annual revenue doubled last year and it is expected to double again this year.

“Enterprise Ireland is proud to have supported ETU on its growth journey,” said Jenny Melia, manager of technology and services at Enterprise Ireland.

“ETU is a wonderful example of an Irish company making a global impact, as they are now a successful market leader in immersive learning.”

Updated, 14.50pm, 25 August 2022: This article was updated to include reported details of the deal.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic