87. Perlego

Students rejoice! This subscription service offers unlimited access to over 220,000 e-textbooks for a single low-cost monthly fee

Founders: Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis
Founded: September 2016 (launched January 2017)
Website: www.perlego.com

These days, there’s an online subscription service for just about everything.

Yet students – who are arguably some of the most avid internet users – are still finding themselves spending hundreds of pounds a year on outdated, cumbersome physical textbooks for their studies.

This is where Perlego comes in.

Founded by 25-year-old school friends Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis, Perlego is a subscription service which gives users unlimited access to over 220,000 e-textbooks for £12 a month – less than a third of the cost of the average physical textbook.

Where competitors charge for each e-textbook used – or only list titles of a particular genre – Perlego offers a variety of books covering a range of subjects, and the single monthly fee means users can access as many textbooks as they want or need without breaking the bank.

Alongside the B2C market, Perlego also operates B2B; giving corporations access to skill-building and training literature.


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While its founding duo say convincing academic publishers to consider alternatives to their traditional model has been a challenge, 1,500 publishers have already signed up to the platform.

And, with investors including LOVEFiLM co-founder and centrist political party leader Simon Franks and Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, the business has raised £850,000 funding to date.

Named earlier this year as young entrepreneurs to watch, Van Malderen and Davis began testing in the Spanish market in March with a view to expanding Perlego’s operations into Europe.

The business is also looking to introduce five new features to its platform: collaboration, AI-enhanced discovery, text-to-speech services, an in-house CMS and a dyslexia style guide – all of which are designed to improve the learning experience.

With a vision of becoming “the world’s online learning library”, we’re expecting great things from this disruptive edtech start-up.

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