Derry e-learning company acquires Oxfordshire rival

Learning Pool acquired HT2 Labs for an undisclosed sum

Learning Pool, the Derry headquartered e-learning company, has acquired its Oxfordshire-based rival, HT2 Labs, for an undisclosed sum.

It is the third major acquisition for Learning Pool, which is backed by the investment fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland, in the last three years and according to its chief executive, Paul McElvaney, it will enable the Northern Ireland company to expand faster.

Learning Pool, which was set up by Mr McElvaney in 2006, provides online learning products to private and public sector organisations throughout Ireland, the UK and internationally. Among its biggest clients are government bodies like the UK’s National Health Service.

In recent years Learning Pool has strongly benefited from industry and public sector trends to spend more and more of their training budgets online which has helped to deliver a significant boost to their business.


The Derry company has developed a portfolio of products which also facilitate businesses to build their own e-learning sources and has also harnessed “game mechanics” to “provoke an emotional response” from learners.

Unique experiences

Its latest acquisition, HT2 Labs, has also developed learning technologies including its award winning Learning Locker and its Curatr Learning Experience Platform.

Learning Pool was already a HT2 Labs partner and the Derry company believes that the acquisition will enable it to “create unique learning experiences and analytics solutions”.

Dr Ben Betts, chief executive at HT2 Labs, will re-invest in Learning Pool as part of the acquisition deal and will join the company's executive team as chief product officer. Additionally, under his direction a new Learning Pool lab will be established.

Dr Betts said as a result of joining forces with Learning Pool he and his team will be able to "quickly deliver the innovation we're known for but at a much greater scale."

“The combined product roadmap we’ve drawn up means that we can make that future available to customers right now,” he added.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business