Nottingham e-learning firm set to hit acquisition trail

(L-R) Paul McElvaney and MediaCorp founder James Marshall

A Nottingham e-learning specialist is set to grow again within the next 12 months through acquisition, according to its co-founder and chief executive.

Paul McElvaney announced earlier this week that his Learning Pool company, the online learning provider, had bought MediaCorp, the Hamilton, Scotland-based online learning and e-portfolio provider.

Now, he says, the company, which moved into the Birkin Building in the Lace Market last year, has set its sights on further acquisitons and has poached Experian’s former director of operations Duncan Shores to work as Learning Pool’s chief commercial officer.

McElvaney said: “The Nottingham office is going really well. We’re settled into the office and have expanded the team. We’ve hired Duncan as our new chief commercial officer who we recruited from Experian to lead the team there and plan to appoint a head of marketing in August. We’ve got lots of space to grow into in Nottingham so its a central part of our plans for the future.”

Learning Pool, headquartered in Derry, Northern Ireland, bought East Midlands competitor Mind Click in September 2016 to enter the regional market.

McElvaney added: “We will acquire again in the next 12 months. The pipeline for acquisitions is strong because we are in a highly fragmented market with lots of opportunity for growth through acquisition.

“We’re developing a new suite of products that use artificial intelligence to improve the way that staff learn so that they can do their job better. The first product is called Otto, it’s a chatbot that helps learners find relevant knowledge and learning related to their job and is finding some interesting traction in the market, especially in contact centres and the pharma industry.”

Last October, Learning Pool moved 40 staff into the newly-refurbished 19th Century Birkin Building on Broadway in the Lace Market. The former nightclub was remodelled by family-run property company, Spenbeck.