The City & Guilds Group, a developer of learning technologies that works with more than 200 companies worldwide to help develop a more skilled workforce, has made an investment into HT2 Labs, a research and development company for workplace digital learning, through its recently set up £2.5 million-pound New Venture Fund.
HT2 Labs works alongside businesses and educational institutions including Xerox, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and the City & Guilds Group itself, helping to develop new products that can make learning more personal, social and measurable.
HT2 Labs’ suite of products are driven by big data and large-scale text analytics, which combine to create a powerful online learning environments such as the learning locker, the open source learning records store, and social learning platform Curatr.
Using these tools, organisations can measure the extent of behavioural change experienced by students during learning programs.
The City & Guilds Group’s New Venture Fund was set up specifically to aid Technology driven companies develop the potential to make an impact within Global skills and workforce development.
In 2013, HT2 Labs raised an initial seed funding round and having now completed a series A round, for an undisclosed amount, led by The New Venture Fund who took a minority equity stake with a commitment to further growth funding in the near future, HT2 Labs say that they will use the funding to “bring intelligent informal learning into mainstream corporate use through a new product, Red Panda, and to expand their operations in the UK and USA.
John Yates, of the City & Guilds Group and Director of the New Ventures Fund, commented that “We know that the team are highly motivated and share our commitment to supporting learning – we share a common real-life research agenda to create solutions that businesses need to improve the performance of their staff and teams.”
“HT2 is nimble; as a company, it listens closely to its customers, and responds quickly and intelligently. We’re delighted to be able to formalise our collaboration.”
HT2 are a father and son team, Alan and Ben Betts, whose latest innovation, Red Panda, helps learners achieve their learning goals, recommending content and automatically presenting back progress as they learn.
Says Ben: This is a tremendously exciting time to be working at HT2 Labs. The success and growth of our products has attracted a great deal of investor attention, but it has been with John Yates and his team at the New Venture Fund that we’ve seen the greatest synergies.”
“We will expand our UK headquarters in Oxford, from 15 to more than 30 people over the next 18 months, whilst also doubling down on our new US office in Boston, which has been a great success for us since opening in January.”
HT2 Labs had previously worked with City & Guilds Group on the TechBac online platform which provided workplace skills and technical qualifications for 14-19 year olds. As part of the deal, City & Guilds Group’s Chief Technology Officer Sven Laux will join HT2 Labs’ Board of Directors.
The City & Guilds Group, backed by a Royal Charter, has more than 135 years of experience in helping people “contribute to successful businesses and thriving economies.” The agency is made up of 6 separate groups; City & Guilds, Kineo, ILM, The Oxford Group, Digitalme and e3Learning; and operates across more than 100 countries and 10,000 training centres, providing qualifications in 26 different industries.
Other recipients of New Venture Fund investment include Filtered, the personalised learning platform, and GetMyFirstJob, the UK’s leading apprenticeship matching service.