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EdTech Startup Perlego branded the “Spotify for student textbooks”

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by Startacus Admin

EdTech Startup Perlego has been branded the “Spotify for student textbooks”. With the aim of making educational content more Perlego founderscalable and affordable, we spoke to Founder Gauthier Van Malderen to find out more about their subscription service that has 'class' intentions...

Tell us in 140 characters or less what Perlego aims to do.

Perlego which has been branded as the Spotify for student textbooks, is an innovative eBook solution, where students can access all thousands of books under a monthly subscription fee.

What is the problem you are trying to solve and how did you initially come up with the Solution?

We decided to launch Perlego to help Europe’s 19.8 million students struggling with expensive textbooks. Textbooks prices increased by more than 800 per cent from 1978 to 2014, or triple the cost of inflation. At Perlego, our aim is to make educational content more scalable, affordable and fair. Aligning to this vision, we launched freemium a few weeks ago which allows our users to access 55,000 public domain books from major authors such as Shakespeare, Plato, Twain, Doyle and Homer.

How big is the market and who would be your main competitors?

The textbook industry is divided into two sectors of roughly equal size: K-12 and higher education. The overall market size is 104 Billion (cited from a report by PwC in 2014). I would see our main competitors as other eBook providers and CHEGG in America.

Perlego screenshot

What has been your biggest challenge to date so far?

The biggest challenge has been locking down our supply side and convincing publishers to join the platform. To date, we already work with over 350 publishers and are increasing this number every month. The reason for this success is due to our business model: By removing the local bookshop's mark and via our royalty pool, publishers receive the same revenue as through the traditional print model. Our goal in the long run is to foster an environment that generates incremental revenue for publishers and additional reading activity that is distinctly different from the current traditional retail environment. 

Tell us more about the team and have you raised any investment to date?

We closed £500K Pre-seed funding in August. The way we have split the team is in three core functions:Perlego team

1.     Growth: This includes Matthew Jones, our new head of business development who sets up our strategic partnerships and Oliviero Falconi who leads our marketing efforts.

2.     Product: This includes my Co-founder and CTO Matthew Davis, Vlad Axinte our designer and our full stack, Hunor Szekacs.

3.     Operations: This is run by our Operations director Callum Hubbarde, who joined a few months ago from IBM.


What do you need to do now to take the business onto the next level?

PerlegoThere are four key performance indicators we need to achieve to take Perlego to the next level.

  1. Continue to create an amazing product
  2. Increase our number of users
  3. Increase our publishers.
  4. Increase collaboration, learning and research between users. 

How exciting is the EdTech scene in the UK currently and any other standout Edtech startups you care to mention?

Coming from Belgium where the Edtech scene is literally non-existent, I find what we see developing in London is one of the most exciting in Europe. From free e-learning platforms that democratize higher education to online homework help communities, edtech startups of all stripes are popping up across the United Kingdom and pushing the ecosystem to the next level. A few Edtech companies that I particularly like are: Futurelearn, Memrise and Refme.


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Published on: 16th January 2017

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