Derry’s Learning Pool to create 100 jobs

Global equity firm Marlin, which has $7.6bn of capital under management, has acquired a strategic stake in Derry’s Learning Pool.

Derry tech firm Learning Pool is to create 100 new jobs after landing a new equity investment.

The investment by Marlin Equity Partners will support Learning Pool global growth.

“Learning Pool’s entire executive management team has re-invested in the company, providing a compelling foundation upon which we’ll build the next phase of growth”

Under the terms of the agreement, Marlin will also acquire the shareholding of Carlyle Cardinal Ireland.

Look and learn


Learning Pool’s integrated suite of digital learning products and services has enabled more than 1,100 companies to migrate their training initiatives to modern cloud technology, including global brands like the FA, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Sky, and Swiss Re.

Derry-founded Learning Pool helps companies at every stage of the employee lifecycle, creating engaging onboarding experiences, rigorous compliance training, and meaningful skills development opportunities for more than 5m learners every year.

The Northern Ireland company is currently ranked as one of the top 60 Large Best Companies to work for in the UK and has grown to more than 260 employees across the UK and US.

“We’re delighted to have found the right partner to help us continue our momentum and grow the Learning Pool brand globally. Marlin has an incredible heritage in helping businesses like ours scale and innovate,” said Learning Pool CEO and co-founder Paul McElvaney.

“We’re excited to be working with them and confident that both our customers and our team will see immediate benefits from Marlin’s investment. Learning Pool’s entire executive management team has re-invested in the company, providing a compelling foundation upon which we’ll build the next phase of growth.”

Since the initial investment from Carlyle Cardinal Ireland in 2016, Learning Pool has experienced four-fold revenue growth.

In addition, Learning Pool has made four acquisitions in four years, most recently acquiring US-based Remote Learner, which enhanced the company’s presence in the US market.

Marlin is expected to help accelerate growth both organically and through additional acquisitions.

“Learning Pool has achieved significant growth through its customer-centric philosophy and unique end-to-end e-learning proposition,” said Jan-Olivier Fillos, a managing director at Marlin Equity Partners.

“We believe the business is extremely well-positioned to capitalise on a highly attractive market opportunity, and we are excited to partner with an exceptional team to drive both organic and inorganic growth together.”

John Dolan, managing director of Cardinal Capital Group added: “Learning Pool has been a great growth story for CCI. When we invested originally the company had 80 employees in one office, predominantly servicing UK public-sector customers. It now has over 260 employees across six offices around the world, and with over 30pc of the revenue coming from North America.

“This is a classic example of the benefits we can bring to an Irish company willing to look west instead of east for accelerated growth. Paul and Louise McElvaney are outstanding entrepreneurs who have built a fabulous culture where all employees look after each other, which has been a huge asset to the company during the Covid pandemic.”

Main picture at top (from left): Mark Lynch. chief product officer. Learning Pool; Louise McElvaney, director of People and Performance, Learning Pool; Kieran Rafter, Marlin Equity Partners; Jan-Olivier Fillols, Marlin Equity Partners; Dan Broadhurst, Marlin Equity Partners; Steven Hargreaves, Marlin Equity Partners; Paul McElvaney, group CEO, Learning Pool; Duncan Shores, chief commercial officer, Learning Pool; Ben Betts, chief executive officer, Learning Pool; and Deborah Limb, chief operations officer, Learning Pool

By John Kennedy (

Published: 15 June 2021