A UK-based ed tech is working with corporate financiers on a capital raise that could result in a majority sale of the business, EducationInvestor Global can reveal.

This publication has learnt that Firefly Learning, which is backed by BGF, Downing Ventures and Beringea, has hired EY to orchestrate its Series C funding round.

Founded in 2005 at London’s St Paul’s School by then-GCSE students Joe Mathewson and Simon Hay, Firefly’s cloud-based platform enhances engagement between schools and parents and facilitates distance learning. Firefly is popular among private schools and counts 70 of the UK’s top-100 independents as customers, it has said.

Although it is unclear exactly how much the organisation will look to raise and at what valuation, a source familiar with its plans told this publication that “all options remain open, but I suspect it will be a majority” sale.

Firefly’s financials are unclear.

Firefly’s Series C will come five years after its Series A, through which the firm raised £4.5 million. In early 2019, Firefly raised Series B funding of £5.5 million.

According to filings with Companies House, Firefly had 11 shareholders as of 9 April 2021. Mathewson and Hay are majority shareholders.

Firefly will garner attention from private equity, banking sources said, which would look to grow the organisation via a series of acquisitions while simultaneously expanding its footprint internationally.

In an interview with MergerMarket last July, chief executive Hay said that Firefly had fielded interest from buyout groups and strategic counterparts – and acknowledged that “an exit would be evaluated at some point”.

Hay had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Firefly has made two acquisitions in the past 12 months, deploying capital raised in earlier funding rounds.

In March, the firm snapped up Epraise, whose platform is used by around 240 schools worldwide.  

 Last June, Firefly bought SchoolPost, a rival parental-engagement platform.

Firefly has offices in London and Sydney, Australia.

EY is also working on a Series B fundraise on behalf of e-textbook platform Kortext, as revealed earlier this month by EducationInvestor Global. The Big Four firm’s corporate finance arm has also been instructed by the shareholders of nursery chain Kids Planet to explore a £200 million sale of the business, as reported.

EY declined to comment when contacted by this publication.

Date published: 22 June 2021

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