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Notice – This funding award was made during the previous iteration of the Small Business Grants Competition which ran from 2016 to 2019. The format has since changed and monthly grant winners are now selected from members of the Small Business Pro community. See here for more details: The Small Business Grants initiative

The winner of the December/January Small Business Grants competition is online textbook subscription service Perlego, collecting £5,000 to invest in new services key to the company’s growth.

Billed as the ‘Spotify for textbooks’, Perlego claims to be the first and only SaaS platform offering unlimited access to academic e-books on a subscription basis.

Officially launched in December 2016, Perlego has already partnered with over 1,350 publishers, including most of the market leaders such as Wiley, Pearson, Elseiver, Palgrave MacMillan, Springer and Taylor and Francis, to offer over 320,000 academic e-books.

With the £5,000 prize, founder Gauthier Van Malderen plans to improve the scalability and usability of the current platform.

‘More than 80,000 freely accessible publications from think-tanks, world banks and consultancies will be added to the platform to expand the content offering for social sciences and business students which requires Perlego to build a range of supporting features and platform changes,’ Van Malderen says.

The company will also build a series of features that allows for collaborative learning between the students and their professors and between the students themselves.

‘A complete experience’

Our judges commended Perlego on bringing new ideas to the market and its strong partnerships.

Andrew Clough, founder of The Brew says, ‘Perlego is an obvious win for all hard-up students, and an impressive range of publishers are onboard. Marketing is going to be key to user growth, so they will need to concentrate on building partnership across the academic spectrum to channel students into the portal.

‘The more features introduced as part of the portal the better for user retention.’

Rennie Schafer, CEO of the Self Storage Association adds, ‘As more users are turning to the sharing economy it makes complete sense to have an online subscription-based service for access to academic text books.

‘The cost for physical copies of these books is considerable and their lifespan limited, an ideal market for a subscription service. The idea of users then using collaborative learning and sharing reading lists makes this a complete experience for students, far superior then buying or borrowing a physical textbook.’

Our Small Business Grants scheme is sponsored by WorldpaySalesforce, Opus Energy and Yell Business and Frontierpay. These partners are specialists in the small business sector and are focused on offering products and services tailored for SMEs.

We would also like to thank our partners,,  No Brainer, the Forum of Private Business, Angel Academe, Luxaviation UK, Caxton, The Self Storage Association and The Brew.

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