Shaw Academy, the fast-growing education tech company now chaired by former Virgin Group CEO Stephen Murphy, has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube in a bid to raise €2.5m.

The Dublin-headquartered business has already exceeded 50 per cent of its target and plans to use the funding to support the next phase of its “rapid expansion”.

The fundraising is said to be the largest equity crowdfunding campaign to date for an Irish company.

Founded by James Egan and Adrian Murphy in 2013, Shaw Academy is an online education provider which teaches a variety of subjects live through a bespoke software platform. It has taught more than four million students worldwide and is currently growing by 250,000 new students a month with plans to scale globally. 

The company is set on educating one billion students globally with the goal to "fundamentally disrupt" the cost of education around the world.

James Egan, co-founder and CEO, said: “Crowdfunding and partnering with Crowdcube has been an excellent fit for us. As Shaw Academy has taught and reached millions of people globally we wanted our students to be part of this story.

“The phenomenal start to this campaign from our own students is a testament to the problem we are solving, the investment proposition and the continued upward trajectory of Shaw Academy.”

Working with Shaw Academy also marks a milestone for Crowdcube as the equity crowdfunding platform grows its operations in Ireland, where equity fundraising manager Darren Mulvihill is working with other Irish companies looking to raise funds.

Since launching in 2011, Crowdcube has helped more than 575 companies successfully raise growth capital, with over £345m having been invested on the website to date by a crowd of over 430,000 registered investors.

“Ireland’s entrepreneurial scene is buzzing and working with Shaw Academy is just the first step in Crowdcube’s plans to develop a strong presence in the area," co-founder Luke Lang said.

"This is a sizeable fundraising and an important milestone in our expansion across Europe and we’re looking forward to connecting our investors with promising Irish, Spanish, Dutch and French businesses."

Last month, Shaw Academy appointed Stephen Murphy to its board as chairman. He previously served as CEO of Virgin Group from 2005 to 2011 after suceeding Sir Richard Branson.