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|Gauthier van Malderen, CEO|
Matthew Davis, CTO
Perlego is a digital online library focusing on the delivery of academic, professional and non-fiction eBooks. It is a subscription-based service that offers users unlimited access to these texts for the duration of their subscription. They have been billed as “the Spotify for Textbooks” by the Evening Standard. Perlego is based in London but is available to users worldwide, with the current exception of the US market.
Perlego was founded in 2016 by Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis, both Belgian natives who had grown exasperated by the rising inflation of textbook prices. They sought to be able to provide an affordable alternative to the high cost of purchasing university textbooks, while helping publishers recover market share lost to piracy. Van Malderen, with an academic background in business and economics, had already founded two companies before Perlego, and Davis had extensive experience in software technology and website building.
Perlego was initially self-funded. Its pre-seed funding was derived from the profit made from Gauthier’s previous business venture – Iconic Matter. In January 2017, Perlego raised £850,000 in a round of seed funding. This was led by angel investors from the UK, Belgium and France, with Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman and LoveFilm founder Simon Franks being notable participants. In September 2018, Perlego raised a further £3,500,000 in a venture round led by Accelerated Digital Ventures, with further participation from its existing angel investors. In November 2019, Perlego closed its Series A fundraising round, having raised a total of £7,000,000. The fundraise was led by Charlie Songhurst, Dedicated VC, and Thomas Leysen (Chairman of Mediahuis and Umicore), with Perlego’s existing investors all reinvesting on a pro-rata basis.
Perlego’s content library currently contains over 300,000 titles in English, Italian and German, covering more than 500 separate disciplines. These range from Aeronautics to Zoology. At the moment Perlego works with over 2,800 publishing houses who provide content for the service, including major academic publishers such as Wiley, Pearson and Bloomsbury.
The service is available on both desktop and mobile. Users are able to access titles via their browser on the former or download the app on mobile devices and tablets where it is also possible to download books for offline reading. As well as the reading functionality, Perlego also offers various learning tools - these currently consist of the ability to highlight and make notes as would be possible with a physical textbook.
- Rowe, Adam. "How 2 Big Textbook Subscription Services Are Teaming Up". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
- "Perlego raises $4.8 million to become the 'Spotify for textbooks'". Evening Standard. 10 September 2018.
- "Un Belge derrière Perlego, le Spotify du livre académique". L'Echo (in French). 12 March 2018.
- Gooding, Matt (20 April 2018). "'Netflix for textbooks' could save students cash". Cambridge News.
- "Gauthier Van Malderen, le Belge qui rêve d'un Spotify du livre". L'Echo (in French). 19 November 2019.
- "Perlego raises $4.8M for its 'Spotify for textbooks'". TechCrunch.
- "Perlego raises $9M Series A for its textbook subscription service". TechCrunch.
- "Bloomsbury signs up to new 'Spotify for textbooks'". The Bookseller.
- Duke, Simon. "Perlego giving last word to Pearson, Wiley and Cengage textbooks". The Times.
- "Online fee-paying libraries tackle textbook inflation". University World News.
- "Spotify for textbooks: Inside the revolutionary new book shop". The Independent. 13 July 2019.