Mar 22, 2018
So far, the Small Business Grants competition has rewarded a diverse range of original and highly inventive startups and projects – from Techsixtyfour’s innovative Gator Watch, to Sent into Space’s low earth orbit packages.
Now, The Brew are excited to bring you the winner of the December-January Small Business Grants competition – the academic e-book platform Perlego.
During his time spent studying at the University of Cambridge, Gauthier Van Malderen often found himself frustrated by the number of expensive textbooks he was paying high prices for, and getting limited use out of. In 2016, together with his friend Matthew Davis, he launched a startup aimed at resolving this issue.
Perlego, who describe themselves as the ‘Spotify for textbooks’, offer their subscribers unlimited access to academic e-books for a monthly fee. So far, Perlego have partnered with over 1,350 publishers – including major names such as Palgrave MacMillan, Pearson and Springer. The company’s premium service, which costs £12 a month, allows subscribers to access 300,000 titles, providing their users with an extensive range of academic texts across a range of subjects, disciplines and courses.
Improving access to education
Perlego’s potential to promote and support improvements in the UK’s education sector make them a deserved winner of this month’s prize. Higher education in particular can be financially demanding for both students and academic institutions. It’s not always easy for students to find the resources they need, and the cost of purchasing expensive academic books, many of which may only be used once, can be beyond the reach of many.
Before launching Perlego, Van Malderen and Davis consulted various publishing houses to ascertain the practicality and viability of their business model. They discovered that publishers were not only convinced that their plan would work, but also that it could help to tackle the growing challenge of online e-book piracy – all while providing a more environmentally sustainable alternative to buying physical books with a limited lifespan.
Now, Perlego plan to use their £5,000 prize money to improve the scalability and usability of their current platform, as well as to introduce features for collaborative learning and shared reading lists.
Could you be the next winner?
If Perlego’s success has you reflecting on the next step for your own small business, why not consider entering it into the Small Business Business Grants competition? Whether you’re running a startup out of your own home or have set up base in a London coworking office, the grant could help you to take your business to the next level –you could use it to develop your existing model, like Perlego, or put it towards developing new products.
To qualify, your company must be at least a year old and have a turnover between £50,000 and £500,000. Simply answer a few questions about your business by filling out the form here, and you’ll be in the running for the £5,000 grant – no strings attached.