We are delighted to announce that the University of Oxford Innovation Fund III has closed an investment in Bibliotech, a spin-out from...
University of Oxford Innovation Fund III closes Bibliotech investment


We are pleased to announce that the University of Oxford Innovation Fund III, managed by Parkwalk, has invested in Bibliotech Education Limited alongside Oxford Sciences Innovation. Bibliotech provides online textbook content for students and is building a large dataset of their study habits, which it can sell to publishers.


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Bibliotech’s proposition was driven by the realisation that the supply of textbooks is space and cost constrained within academic institutions and students who can generally only afford a selection of those resort to borrowing or downloading titles. An online solution which could provide access to a wider range of textbooks would not only address the issue but would also offer the potential to supply the information across multiple devices and to enable enhanced search and other tools to make the process more efficient.
After building a significant reader base with its early B2C offering the company realised that this would generate a large dataset of users’ reading and search habits. This information was recognised as potentially valuable to textbook publishers.

The Technology

Bibliotech’s technology is aimed at making the research process more efficient for the student and so its search component is built around returning the most relevant book, article, slide, annotation, problem, example, diagram, index or definition. This differentiates it from, for example, Google Scholar which ranks the overall resource. Bibliotech’s model will then utilises machine learning and data mining techniques to discover a user’s pattern of behaviour and to model and predict it and hence to enhance the search capabilities.
The data thus collected is then processed and presented to publishers through an analytics dashboard. It provides information which allows the publishers to track which institutions are recommending their products and which parts of the content are being consumed. This is compared to an in-house reading list database which was generated by intelligent processing of raw usage data from universities. This information will allow the publishers to optimise their product offerings to course content and student demands.

The Market Opportunity

B2C: Students are charged on an affordable subscription basis for access to the online portal which provides the textbooks. Although the average UK undergraduate spends around £104 p.a. on textbooks, the purchase price of a full list would be closer to £1,500. The company can charge c. £10/month for a reading list so with 2m active undergraduate students in the UK the potential market is estimated at £200m p.a. There are opportunities to take the product into other geographies, of course.
The company is also exploring the potential of selling access to the portal to University departments, who would in turn sell a subscription package to their students. This would cannibalise the B2C model but would involve lower marketing and support costs.

The Team

David Sherwood, CEO & Co-Founder - is Co-Founder of Teach Learn Grow Inc. and was responsible for raising and managing £150,000 to provide 10,000 hours free tutoring and mentoring. David was a Rhodes Scholar and graduated in Chemistry & Physics at the University of Western Australia.

Ellis Gecan, CIO & Co-Founder - is a search engine developer with six years’ experience in
computer science and graduated at the University of Western Australia.

Daniel Engelke, CTO - is an experienced iOS and embedded systems developer and previously worked as a management consultant for VCI. He received first class honours in Electrical Engineering from the University of Western Australia.

The Investment Case

The company has made progress in onboarding students and publishers but still has a long runway ahead with the expectation of major publisher signings in 2017. It will also make a major push into attracting university departments to the offering in the UK and is promoting the service in other countries, including Australia and India, this year. A number of UK departments and libraries have now finalised deals to enable their students to access content on Bibliotech.
The company has delivered early commercial traction and the team shows strong technical and commercial nous but it is still an early stage proposition. We believe that they can push forward strongly in the near future to solidify their position in this nascent market.


Opportunities EIS Fund

The Parkwalk Opportunities EIS Fund is open to investors all year.

Please email funds@parkwalkadvisors.com for further details.


Important Information

This financial promotion is issued by Parkwalk Advisors Limited (Parkwalk), which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Investments referred to in this newsletter are not suitable for all investors.  Interested parties are strongly recommended to seek specialist financial and tax advice before investing in any product.  Capital is at risk and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each investor and may be subject to change. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results, and the value of investments may go down as well as up. Projections and forecasts are also not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments in small and unquoted companies carry a higher risk than many other forms of investment. Any investment in a Parkwalk product must only be made on the basis of the terms of the full Information Memorandum. Parkwalk is not able to provide advice as to the suitability of investing in any product.