Northern Ireland

Derry-based online firm hopes major investment will speed growth

John Dolan of CCI, Paul McElvaney of Learning Pool and Jonathan Cosgrave of CCI Image copyright Aaron McCracken/Harrisons
Image caption John Dolan of CCI, Paul McElvaney of Learning Pool and Jonathan Cosgrave of CCI

An investment fund has bought a major stake in Learning Pool, a Londonderry-based online training company.

Learning Pool, which was founded in 2006, employs 80 people and its customers include the NHS and Capita.

The investor is Carlyle Cardinal Ireland (CCI) which is focused on small and medium Irish firms with strong growth potential, including Lily O'Brien's chocolates and Payzone.

The Learning Pool deal is CCI's first in Northern Ireland.

The investment will help the firm to grow its team and develop new products.

The size of the deal has not been revealed but is understood to be a seven-figure sum..

Fast track

The fund usually makes investments of between 5m euros (£4m) and 50m euros (£40m).

Learning Pool's existing management team, including the chief executive Paul McElvaney, will continue in their current roles and are investing further as shareholders in the business.

Mr McElvaney, who founded the business and was the majority shareholder, said the investment will allow the firm to "fast track" its growth and deliver products more quickly.

Jonathan Cosgrave, managing director, at the Carlyle Group said Learning Pool is well positioned to grow its share of the estimated £675m UK e-learning market.

He added that the fund had been impressed by Learning Pool's "entrepreneurial leadership team."

John Dolan, managing director, Cardinal Capital Group said the e-learning market is growing at over 10% per year and Learning Pool is "ideally placed to meet this demand".