Information for Potential Investors
Oxford Learning Solutions Ltd
Fact 1: One in five children leave primary school at 11 still unable to read (source: government websites). That is 120,000 children in the UK and over 750,000 worldwide... every year.
And the best efforts of the education system have never achieved better results than these.
Fact 2: Over the past 11 years we have developed the Easyread System, which has been getting results never seen before with the children who normally struggle.
For instance, Clare Hiley of Maidenbower School, Crawley said:
“In 18 years teaching reading to children with difficulties,
I have never had such good results in such a short time.”
You can look through the daily stream of testimonials we receive. And I can take you on a tour through the results we get.
Our Aim with Easyread
It is our aim with Easyread to change the existing pattern for ever, by making learning to read English easy for every child.
Easyread delivers the technical knowledge and support that the schools and parents need. Together, we can teach the vast majority of those failing children to read in nine months.
What is Easyread and What Makes it Different
There are many reading systems. Easyread is different because it tackles the underlying causes of reading difficulty for each individual child. We find there are seven common causes of difficulty. We have developed diagnostic processes and practical solutions to each of them.
It is that "whole waterfront" approach that is so effective.
We use online lessons that can be accessed from any computer, combined with a consultancy that helps the parent or teacher guide the child through the process successfully.
It's unique, it's cost effective, it works.
Our gross turnover in 2010 was £320,000, up from £159,000 in 2009.
In both years we broke even financially.
The business has been entirely financed by a director's loan from myself to date and has no other debt or liabilities, apart from credit card facilities.
During 2010 we had 600 children start the course (500 home study and 100 school-based subscriptions). So we have effectively limitless room for growth for the next few years.
We have no competitor delivering anything close to the results we achieve. Although we expect that people will eventually start to copy our underlying approach, we are in a process of constant ongoing development.
We also have many years of experience of what works, what doesn't and how to support the process. That cannot be copied and is not quickly gained.
I am confident nobody can match us now or will be able to soon.
The 12-Month Plan
We are raising our public profile this year, with the aim of at least doubling our home study activity and increasing our school activity 400%. Almost all our sales to date have been created through Google advertising. We have a variety of PR projects in development to achieve this growth.
Our target is to double our turnover again this year. But we are managing the business on existing cash flow until the growth in sales is achieved. Of course, that growth may be much greater.
My Reason for Inviting Investment
We can continue to grow the business organically, but there are several major expenses that we think are worth incurring in order to accelerate our growth and improve what we do:
1 Neurological study of how the brain process changes during the course. (£40,000)
There are constant debates about what works and what doesn't in literacy teaching. Our aim is to use fMRI scans to map the functional patterns seen in the poor readers starting the course and show them changing to match those of good readers after nine months.
We know the process works, but this will give it scientific proof. And we have an American neuroscientist ready to manage the trials process.
2 Completion of the early-years and youth/adult versions (£30,000)
The existing system (Easyread Accelerator and Easyread Spellmagic) is currently optimised for 6-9 year-old children. We have much of the work done for two new versions, suited to 3-5 year-olds (Foundation) and teenagers/adults (Maximizer). We would like to accelerate their completion by recruiting new development talent.
There are over 7 million English-speaking children starting school every year and over 50 million adults with reading and spelling difficulties in English-speaking countries (often with large government budgets allocated to helping them). So these versions have significant numbers of potential users.
3 Growth War Chest (£30,000)
As our profile rises we will have less control over our rate of growth. Surges of interest will potentially lead to cash flow dips. We want to be sure we can deliver a good service through those periods by moving quickly to recruit when we need to.
And some of our publicity projects (such as a new children's book prize) might need top-up finance, depending on our natural cash flow growth.
Return On Investment
We run Oxford Learning Solutions as a Social Enterprise. There is some dispute over the definition of that term, so I will describe what it means to us!
Our principle aim is to maximise our delivery of improved educational experiences, through innovation.
However, we run as a business rather than a charity.
I strongly believe in enterprise and the principle of investor-return for input and risk, as the main engine to society. I believe that the format of a business allows greater flexibility and energy to our operations.
So our ideal investor is someone who would consider gifting the money to a charity, but is happier with the prospect of a financial return that can then be redeployed elsewhere.
I certainly aim to make a good return on the investment I have already made in the project and I believe there is plenty of potential for that.
But this would not be a suitable investment vehicle for someone who has the primary aim of just getting the maximum financial return in the shortest possible time.
Your Invitation to Invest
We are looking for £100,000 (divided into blocks of £10,000 if necessary) in two possible forms:
1 In return for 10% of the business equity.
2 As a loan with a 5% interest rate, with capital repayment over 5 years, beginning in the second year.
If the project is of interest to you, please make contact with me by email:
or by phone on 0845 458 2642. I can then tell you anything you want to know about it.
- David Morgan, CEO Oxford Learning Solutions