Confirmed: 'Netflix for textbooks' platform Perlego raises $50 million

Online textbook subscription service, Perlego has raised $50 million, confirming rumours of Belgium's Mediahuis participation.
Confirmed: 'Netflix for textbooks' platform Perlego raises $50 million

Online academic books platform Perlego has raised $50 million in a Series B funding round via Mediahuis Ventures, Raine Ventures, and Evli Growth Partners, officially confirming a rumour we'd reported two weeks prior. No specific details were provided regarding the planned usage of the funding, save for accelerating growth, with a particular focus on the U.S. market. 

In 2020, the big business of textbooks generated $7.85 billion in revenues in the US alone. Having experienced the crushing financial reality of the cost of textbooks themselves, and witnessing firsthand the lengths that students will go to just to meet course requirements; the not-so-legal process of photocopying, or second, third, or even fourth-hand book purchases, Perlego co-founders Gauthier Van Malderen and Matt Davis set out to build a better mousetrap.

“We built Perlego to help make learning more accessible and affordable for all. We’re meeting learners where they are, online, while helping the publishing industry move to digital in a way that works for them,” says Van Malderen.

Just as Spotify achieved the unachievable in the music industry, and Netflix in the film industry, Perlego is on the path to do the same within the academic publications industry. 

Via a monthly or annual subscription plan, Perlego users have access to some 800,000 titles across 900+ different topics and subtopics from over 5,000 publishers including Cengage, Routledge, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Harvard University Press.

In addition to Mediahuis Ventures, Raine Ventures, and Evli Growth Partners, Perlego’s $50 million Series B round also saw participation from a syndicate of publishers and angel investors including Kahoot’s founders Jamie Brooker and Johan Brand through their We Are Human fund.

Breaking silence on the investment, Mediahuis’ COO Paul Verwilt commented, “Perlego is changing the equation for university students, helping them access course resources, while also enabling publishers to move online and harness new revenue opportunities. We’ve watched the company soar since our first investment, and are excited to double down on our commitment to the company in their Series B.”

Interesting to note that Verwilt's statement mentions doubling down on Mediahuis' first investment, and yet, this is the first public record of Mediahuis having a stake in the company. Previous records do show that significant Mediahuis shareholder and Chairman Thomas Leysen investing in Perlego's Series A round, but as an individual and not representing Mediahuis as a business entity.

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