IPO on cards for 'Spotify for textbooks'
The co-founder of a fast-growing education technology firm known as the 'Spotify for textbooks' has said the company could pursue a float in the next five years.
Tao Mantaras is one of four co-founders of VC-funded Bibliotech Education, whose platform offers university students access to thousands of e-textbooks online for a low monthly subscription.
The company has this month closed a £3 million investment round, which was led by the family office of ex co-founder and CEO of indeed.com Paul Forster and entrepreneur Fritz Demopoulous, the former co-founder and CEO of Chinese-language online travel information provider Qunar.
VC fund Oxford Sciences Innovation, an existing backer of the business, also increased its investment.
Mantaras told BusinessCloud that the money will be used to beef up its UK presence and expand across the US.
“We’re already fairly established year and we’re now in 20 institutions including Imperial College, Oxford University and UCL,” he said. “What we’d really like to do is have a foothold in every single university across the UK so that every student is accessing their content through Bibliotech.”
Mantaras added that a float is "definitely a realistic target" in the next five years.
"We would like to IPO one day - the market is definitely large enough for that," he said.
Bibliotech has already inked deals with publishers of academic textbooks including Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Wiley, OUP and Sage and is now planning to take things a step further.
"What we see ourselves being is an educational contact platform that's making learning more efficient," Mantaras said.
"Right now we're focusing on higher education and publisher content but what we want to do is build out our educational catalogue to include everything from Wikipedia pages, lecture notes, journal articles – in effect building up this really powerful catalogue of educational information."
For a fast-growing company with global ambitions, Mantaras says that expanding in the US is crucial.
"As you can imagine the US is roughly ten times the size of the UK in terms of spend so it’s a very important market for us," he said. "
If we can succeed in the US then that puts us in a good place to be a global player which is our ambition in the long-term."
Bibliotech has doubled its workforce to 20 across its offices in London and Chicago over the last 12 months.
The company now plans to use the investment to grow the team further and invest in its technology.
"We want to invest really heavily in our product development to make sure that the difference between us and our nearest competitor is night and day.
"From my experience working in a start-up, you can never have enough developers; there’s always a new feature that’s requested or something that we can improve or make nicer. You never waste a developer."