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Irish investment fund buys stake in Derry tech firm Learning Pool

Published 03/05/2016

Pictured announcing the investment are (l-r): John Dolan, Managing Director, Cardinal Capital Group, Paul McElvaney, CEO, Learning Pool, Jonathan Cosgrave, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group.
Pictured announcing the investment are (l-r): John Dolan, Managing Director, Cardinal Capital Group, Paul McElvaney, CEO, Learning Pool, Jonathan Cosgrave, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group.

A major Irish investment fund has bought a stake in Londonderry tech firm Learning Pool.

Learning Pool, which produces e-learning software, employs 80 people in Londonderry, along with a handful of others across the UK.

But it's understood the Carlyle Cardinal fund has made its first Northern Ireland investment in the business, but it thought to be worth seven figures.

Neither party has disclosed the financial terms of the investment.

The group's equity investment normally range between £3.4m) and £34m.

Founded in 2006 by CEO Paul McElvaney, the firm services clients in the UK, Ireland and internationally.

It claims that every day a community of 1.25 million learners across 350 companies and government bodies uses its products and services to meet compliance requirements.

Mr McElvaney said that his firm had doubled its turnover over the last three years.

"This investment will fast track our growth and allows us to build out our technology and content at a quicker pace for our customers benefit," he said.

"I’m excited about the next phase of Learning Pool’s growth that will see us deliver more product innovation and significant expansion of our customer base and our team.”

And The Carlyle Group said that it was looking for more investment opportunities in Northern Ireland.

Jonathan Cosgrave, managing director, The Carlyle Group said:

“Learning Pool is well positioned to continue growing its share of the estimated £675m UK e-learning market, he said.

"We’re also delighted to complete our first investment in Northern Ireland and we continue to look at other potential investments in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

Last year, another home-grown Londonderry software firm was taken over in a deal worth almost £27m.

Cambridge-based Aveva acquired 8over8 for £27.9m.

Based at the North West Regional Science Park in Londonderry, home-grown firm 8over8 sprang up as a spin-out from the city's university.

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