£9 million funding for Wide Learning

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3rd Jul 2000
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Investors led by J.P. Morgan Capital Corporation are investing £9 million sterling as second round funding into Wide Learning, a leading financial e-learning specialist. Wide Learning will use the funding to create more e-learning course and micro-learning content for use in the finance and business sectors and on a range of other customer-focused services. Wide Learning’s existing venture capital backers, including Arts Alliance and Forman Hardy Holdings, are participating fully in this second fundraising round.

Wide Learning’s courses use sophisticated software engines and the latest streaming techniques to bring computer animation and video technology to the teaching of financial skills, ranging from personal finance to options and portfolio theory. Four of the UK’s five largest banks already use Wide Learning’s course products, which can also be delivered via CD-Rom format. Wide Learning, which has over 70 customers, was recently appointed by the Securities Institute – the professional body for practitioners working in securities, investment management, corporate finance and derivatives in the UK – as its exclusive partner for development of exam-based e-learning packages world-wide.

Current content series available to corporate and bank customers cover such areas as Global Financial Markets, Derivatives and Analysis of Financial Statements, while titles such as Financial Decision Making and The Value of Equity will be launched shortly. As well as its corporate service, Wide Learning also offers a consumer-focused service on its website (www.widelearning.com), with 25 courses and 25 micro-learning Quicksights already online. The company website won a Gold BIMA (British Interactive Multimedia Association) award for Best New Consumer Focused Service earlier this month.

Pierre DuPont, Co-Head of J.P. Morgan Capital Corporation said:
“We have been delighted to lead this financing round for Wide Learning as we view it as a leader in its market and a company capable of creating a global e-learning platform. The investment is in line with Morgan Capital’s focus on investing in businesses with the capability to become global leaders in their field and where Morgan Capital can add value as an investor.”

Luke Montagu, a founder and CEO of Wide Learning said:
“Good investors make a huge difference to any company, and we are fortunate to have the backing of a world-class investor group. Our investor group will allow us to grow our business internationally more effectively and ensure that our business becomes the leading player in the market. J.P. Morgan’s global reach and strong emphasis on e-learning will support Wide Learning’s global ambitions”.

Thomas Hoegh, Managing Partner at Arts Alliance, said:
“Online learning will revolutionise the skills and working habits of all of us. The potential here is huge: to demystify the jargon and complexities of finance, and to spread the knowledge and core skills of the greatest experts and practitioners in this area to a much wider corporate and consumer audience across the globe”.

Khalid Rahim, Chief Executive of Forman Hardy Holdings, said:
“Behind the recent turbulence in the public markets for Internet shares, there has been a flight to quality in the private market, with institutions focussing only on the strongest long-term product offerings, management teams and business models. Wide Learning combines all three.”

Laura Wallace

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