Fishtree lands big one: A €2.7m deal

An Irish start-up shaking up the education technology sphere on both sides of the Atlantic has landed a $3m (€2.7m) deal that will allow it expand its reach in the US.

Dublin-based personalised learning company Fishtree yesterday announced that it had secured the Series A funding from a range of investors, building on a €1.6m seed investment it had previously landed.

The deal will help the start-up double its workforce to 50 employees over the next 18 months, with half of these jobs earmarked for its Dublin headquarters. It will also accelerate its business and software developments.

Fishtree excels in the personalisation of education, according to chief executive Terry Nealon, and allows teachers to adapt lesson plans for individual students to best meet their needs.

“Fishtree is unique in the marketplace in its ability to give instructors the access to resources automatically aligned to the needs of every learner and the data to act, all with one click of a button,” Mr Nealon told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “We finally have a solution that helps scale one-to-one instruction and our users love it.”

The funding series was led by New Market Ventures which specialises in education technology investments in the US, and also included Japanese company Recruit Holdings, the US Educational Credit Management Corporation, and business advisers JISR.

With almost 500,000 users accessing its software in a range of languages including Mandarin, Spanish, and English across PC, tablet, and smartphone in just three years, the company has seen phenomenal growth since it was established.

Results have added credence to its claim as being one of the most disruptive and innovative voices in the ‘ed-tech’ scene as students tend to climb a grade after just 10 weeks of use. Teachers are also reaping the benefits, with preparation time falling by as much as 70%.

Growth in the US has also brought physical expansion with a base in the state of Maryland close to investors and the seat of power in Washington, DC, from where policy stems — both a key reason behind choosing its location.

Elsewhere among the 30 Irish companies at the congress, Brite:Bill has been selected as billing communications solutions provider for US giant Sprint. “We feel privileged to have been selected by Sprint,” said chief executive Alan Coleman.

“It was a competitive selection process and being chosen is testament to what Brite:Bill can do when it comes to radically improving how CSPs manage, present, and analyse billing information.”

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