Could this be the end of one-size-fits-all learning?
Archived article: please remember tax and investment rules and circumstances can change over time. This article reflects our views at the time of publication.
The global corporate training market is expected to grow to $487.3bn by 2031 as companies recognise the continual need to keep their workforce productive and its knowledge up-to-date and relevant. However, many existing providers deliver linear and undifferentiated, one-size-fits-all training that often fails to adequately assess the progress and adapt to the learning requirements of its users.
Enter OBRIZUM – an adaptive learning platform that is completely tailored to the unique needs of every learner in real-time using Artificial Intelligence (AI), helping enterprises train their employees faster, better and more cost-effectively. It is now being used by some of the world’s largest companies, including PwC, Capita, Merck, and Barclays.
The company is included in the current tranche of the Guinness EIS Fund (deadline 10 March for targeted deployment this tax year – not guaranteed) – find out more below.
What is OBRIZUM?
Founded by a trio of PhD-trained Cambridge scientists, Doctors Chibeza Agley, Sarra Achouri and Juergen Fink, OBRIZUM specialises in adaptive learning for corporate use. OBRIZUM’s AI algorithm automatically analyses and curates training content into modules, which dramatically reduces the manual effort for human operators.
In addition, each user’s journey is tailored in real time, enabling ultra-efficient learning. OBRIZUM’s AI continuously detects each learner’s needs using smart assessments, which allow it to constantly adjust where learners should go next. So, the technology can both challenge users on concepts they are good at and strengthen them in topics they are less proficient in. That can help accelerate the time it takes to become competent in a subject matter by 2-5 times.
Guinness invested in OBRIZUM in November 2022, leading a $11.5 million Series A funding round with contributions from existing investors Beaubridge, Juno Capital Partners and Qatar Science & Tech Holdings, and new investor Celeres Ventures.
Why has Guinness invested?
Guinness Ventures (Guinness), backed by parent Guinness Asset Management, is an experienced UK venture capital team that manages EIS and VCT funds focused on providing scale-up capital to revenue generating businesses. It invested in OBRIZUM for the following reasons:
- The team – the OBRIZUM team is unusual in the way it combines strong academic foundations with keen commercial instincts, in Guinness’s view. The team has also been adept at attracting top talent to work alongside them.
- The product – The OBRIZUM platform organises content in a way that allows companies to offer their staff fast-paced learning programs which adjust in real-time based on proven understanding.
- The shareholders – Guinness has co-invested on three occasions with Capita, one of the largest professional services businesses in the UK, and Guinness believes that its extensive client relationships can be powerful in driving growth for small businesses.
- The market – The corporate training market is expected to grow with companies recognising the need for learning and development for their employees.
When we undertook our due diligence, we interviewed OBRIZUM’s clients and received an overwhelmingly positive response on how transformative OBRIZUM is for enterprises and government agencies seeking improvements in the way they train their people.Shane Gallwey, Head of Ventures, Guinness Ventures
Want to invest in OBRIZUM and similar companies?
Guinness is one of the largest EIS fund managers, raising over £250 million across its EIS funds since 2010. In November 2022, it backed OBRIZUM through its EIS Fund. The fund is currently open for investment and looks to offer scale-up capital to businesses that are already generating revenue – preferably £1 million or above – with evidence of durable revenue streams, not guaranteed. Investors who subscribe to the fund before 10 March should be invested into OBRIZUM as part of a portfolio of at least 10 companies across a range of sectors targeting deployment this tax year – not guaranteed.
Since adopting its growth capital strategy in 2018, the fund has invested £134.6 million across 204 investments into 44 investee companies. The fund has found some early success: it has achieved two full and three partial exits, generating total proceeds of £28.8 million, whilst the remaining portfolio shows an unrealised value of £245.5 million – past performance is not a guide to the future. Moreover, several investee companies featured amongst the UK’s 50 fastest growing start-ups, including Popsa, Distributed, and Cera Care.
Performance of the Guinness EIS Fund per £100 invested in each tax year
Guinness Asset Management, as at 31 December 2022, for growth capital investments only. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The chart shows realised returns (where share proceeds have been returned to investors as cash) and unrealised returns (where cash has not yet been returned and the value of the investments is based on the manager’s own valuation methodology). There is no ready market for unlisted shares. The figures shown are net of all fees and do not include any income tax relief or loss relief.
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Guinness EIS Fund
Learn more about the Guinness EIS Fund – its manager, strategy, risks, what type of companies it invests in, the manager’s performance record, charges and our view.Read more and see how to apply online