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LDC invests in education technology specialist Avantis

4 Aug 2022

Leading mid-market private equity firm LDC has invested in Avantis, an innovative provider of virtual reality-based learning technology to the international education market.

Founded in 2007, the company has delivered its diverse portfolio of learning products to tens of thousands of schools in more than 90 countries worldwide. It has also developed the world’s first virtual reality (VR) system designed for classrooms. Global data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that when integrated into the learning environment appropriately, smart technologies can make education more effective and inclusive while also resulting in improved outcomes for students.1

Driven by the ethos of developing simple, effective and innovative solutions to classroom challenges, Avantis boasts a diverse portfolio of classroom-focused products and services that are in daily use by millions of students. Since the introduction of the multi award-winning classroom solution ClassVR, Avantis has made significant inroads into the field of augmented and virtual reality in the K-12 classroom. ClassVR is a complete system of hardware, software, content and teacher controls that immerses students in a wide variety of augmented and virtual reality experiences, sparking creativity and improving pupil engagement.

With the launch of Avantis World; the world’s first educational VR theme park and Eduverse; a safe and secure K-12 Metaverse platform, the company is set to drive significant growth in new market segments and territories.

With its technology used in over 100,000 classrooms worldwide, the education technology business has generated revenues of over £20m in the last 12 months. LDC is backing Avantis’ existing management team, led by Founder Nik Tuson and Managing Director Huw Williams, to further enhance its suite of products and services and continue Avantis’ international expansion.

Former Texthelp CEO Mark McCusker is joining the board as Non-Executive Director to support Avantis’ international expansion plans. A previous LDC portfolio company, Texthelp is a market leading international education and corporate software provider that grew revenues 40% and expanded across the US during an 18-month partnership.

LDC’s investment was led by Partner Aziz Ul-Haq and Investment Manager Grant Goodwin from its North West team, both of whom will also join the board. Andy McEwan will continue as Non-Executive Chair.

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It’s been fantastic to see so many schools globally embrace the power of virtual reality and we’re excited to be working with LDC to support our next phase of growth. LDC’s sector experience from supporting leading ed-tech businesses like Texthelp was crucial when choosing a private equity partner to support our vision.”
Huw Williams, Managing Director
Avantis

Aziz Ul-Haq, Partner at LDC in the North West, added: “The team at Avantis are bringing industry-leading technological solutions to the education market that support better outcomes for students. We’re looking forward to working to supporting the business reach even more students across the world.”

Key Capital Partners will remain invested in Avantis to continue to support the business following its initial investment in February 2020.

This transaction marks the LDC North West team’s fifth investment in the last 12 months. It follows the team’s recent investments in digital agency CTI Group and healthcare solutions firm EMS, and builds on the team’s record breaking 2021 in which they completed transactions with a combined enterprise value of more than £500m. LDC is committed to investing in at least 100 mid-market business across the UK over the next five years. The private equity firm recently announced a new five-year partnership with The Prince’s Trust to help up to 10,000 young people across the UK to start, sustain and grow their own business.

Avantis was advised by Cattaneo Corporate Finance, Mills & Reeve and Trowers and Hamlins.

LDC was advised by EY Corporate Finance, DLA and EY-Parthenon.

Senior debt and working capital facilities were provided by Virgin Money, who were advised by Pinsent Masons.

1 Reference: OECD Digital Education Outlook 2021: Pushing the Frontiers with Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Robots, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/589b283f-en.