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Birmingham-based language technology firm, Learning Labs Limited, has secured a £500,000 investment to ramp up product development and establish itself in new markets.

The investment round includes finance from some existing investors and £250,000 from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) Equity Finance Fund, managed by venture capital firm Midven.

Established in 2013 by Veejay Lingiah and Richard Allen, Learning Labs originally developed FlashSticks, a unique language learning system based on 3M’s Post-it Notes. Sold in more than 500 WHSmith outlets nationwide at launch, the system was supported by Learning Lab’s interactive software platform, FlashAcademy.

FlashAcademy enables users to learn English from 45 different home languages. The software also allows users to learn any new language from each of the home languages, providing approximately 2,000 different language learning permutations. This means that while a student can learn English from Spanish, they can also learn French from Spanish, French from Urdu, and so on, from the platform.

Veejay Lingiah, Co-founder of Learning Labs, said: “This investment through Midven and MEIF will enable the business to support the tremendous growth and development that we are seeing with FlashAcademy.

“Within the last few weeks, we have seen an upsurge of more than 20,000 new students being added to the platform as schools and colleges seek out engaging distance learning solutions to maintain learning progress during the COVID-19 lockdown. As the education sector continues to adapt to the changing landscape brought upon by the pandemic, the Learning Labs team are working to full capacity in order to help enable young people to successfully learn from home in the same way as most of us are working from home.”

Giovanni Finocchio, Investment Director of Midven added: “Learning Labs is a great addition to our MEIF portfolio. By engaging the pupils, the platform helps ensure that they are completing the curriculum while improving their language proficiency.

“The importance of this is more prevalent than ever before as a prime concern for pupils during the COVID-19 lockdown is that they may fall behind in their curriculum. This round of investment will help Learning Labs further develop its platform and allow its reach to extend towards corporate learning. The EdTech sector is vibrant and fast moving. We believe Learning Labs will be a key positive force in this market for years to come.”

Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, said: “It is good to see businesses like Learning Labs adapting and innovating during these challenging times. This latest investment round, supported by the MEIF, will enable the company to develop language software products and move into new markets.”