DC Thomson Ventures and Nesta announce £1.75 million investment in education technology

2nd October 2014
Share post

DC Thomson Ventures, the venture capital arm of private media group DC Thomson, and Nesta Impact Investments have made a significant investment in Edinburgh-based edtech company, CogBooks.

The investment forms part of a £1.75 million funding round by DC Thomson Ventures, Nesta Impact Investments and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

For over ten years CogBooks has been pioneering the use of adaptive learning technology, with a real focus on personalised learning for students. Highly rated in reports commissioned by the Gates Foundation, CogBooks’ learning platform targets improved educational outcomes and student retention.

The platform is used by publishers and institutions in the US and UK post-secondary education market, including Edinburgh University, the OCR exam board and many others.

DC Thomson Head of Strategy and Development Ben Gray said, “DC Thomson Ventures is looking forward to working with CogBooks as it builds on its position as a leading provider of adaptive learning solutions. We believe that true adaptive learning technologies have the potential to fundamentally change the way that education is delivered at all levels, creating positive outcomes for learners.”

Matt Mead from Nesta Impact Investments said, “Educational technology has the potential to radically change education, especially in secondary schools where there are real opportunities to support learning in the classroom with online work. But that technology can’t be a one size fits all solution. We invested in CogBooks because of their unique approach to personalised web-based learning, which sees them put the student at the heart of their technology. By really understanding how young people learn and working with education providers to ensure content is relevant, CogBooks enables learners to get the most from their experience while also supporting teachers.”

Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank said, “Having supported CogBooks through seed investment we are pleased to further support them as they enter this exciting stage in their development. CogBooks has already been recognised as a leader in adaptive learning technology and this new investment will help the company deliver its growth ambition and extend its international reach.”

CogBooks CEO Jim Thompson added, “Throughout the world, we face the problem of how to make the highest quality education available to everyone. We believe that a new generation of learning technologies, of which CogBooks is an example, can help to solve this problem. We are working with our partners to bring these new technologies to teachers and help them to transform the way that learning is achieved.

“Our work with the Gates Foundation, Ufi Charitable Trust, the OCR, Edinburgh University and other leading schools and colleges will allow hundreds of thousands of students to benefit from advanced personalised on-line learning, delivered using the CogBooks adaptive platform.

“This new investment will allow us to continue to expand our company and provide improved learning experiences for more and more students.”


Notes to editors:


The CogBooks adaptive learning platform intelligently personalises learning for each student in real time in order to improve learning outcomes and retention. CogBooks is used widely by publishers and in post-secondary education and corporate training. We are engaged in a range of high profile on-line education projects in work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ufi Charitable Trust, OCR Exam Board and others. Our mature cloud-based technology can be used as a massive scale stand-alone on-line learning solution or integrated with our customers’ existing systems such as MOOCs or Learning Management Systems.

We are committed to advancing education through the application of research-led methods. CogBooks learning technology is based on a systematic, data-driven, approach that makes us an ideal partner for forward thinking educators and publishers.

To learn more about CogBooks learning technologies, please visit www.cogbooks.com or email info@cogbooks.com.

DC Thomson Ventures

DC Thomson Ventures is the venture capital arm of DC Thomson and has a remit to focus on investment opportunities in early-stage companies. The company is interested in a variety of sectors including digital media, advertising, e-commerce, education, gaming and healthcare. DC Thomson Ventures operates two innovation centres for startups, IDEALondon and IDEAScotland and has built strong relationships with a number of startup accelerators including Seedcamp.

This is the latest edtech investment for DC Thomson Ventures.  CogBooks strengthens the company’s existing portfolio which includes Twig, an award-winning digital media company that creates film-based learning resources used by educational institutions around the world.

DC Thomson Ventures have recently launched a new website – http://www.dcventures.co.uk.

DC Thomson
DC Thomson is a private company and one of the leading publishing houses in the UK. Headquartered in Dundee, Scotland the company’s publishing portfolio includes newspapers, magazines, comics and books.

The company has diversified into new media, digital technology, retail, radio and television through investment interests.

The DC Thomson Group includes global genealogy company DC Thomson Family History and leading IT business services provider brightsolid and the company has established startup accelerator centres in both Shoreditch (IDEALondon) and Dundee (IDEAScotland) to identify and nurture potential future investment prospects.

Nesta Impact Investments

Nesta Impact Investments is a £17.6 million social investment fund, backed by Big Society Capital, Omidyar Network and Nesta. It was launched in October 2012 and helps tackle the major challenges faced by older people, children and communities in the UK by investing in life-changing innovations.

The fund is run by Nesta Investment Management (NIM), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation. NIM is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to manage and invest funds on behalf of Nesta and external investors.

Scottish Investment Bank

The Scottish Investment Bank is the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It manages a suite of funds including the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Scottish Venture Fund, which are partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); the Scottish Seed Fund, the Scottish Recycling Fund and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund.

SIB is also the cornerstone investor in the privately-managed Scottish Loan Fund and an investor in Epidarex Capital’s life sciences fund. These support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to capital. SIB also provides a team of financial readiness specialists to help companies prepare for new investment and more easily access finance.