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Powered in Yorkshire: Titus Learning is supercharging Moodle around the world
Cofounder and director Seb Francis founded Titus Learning in 2013 with his co-founder Mike Bennett having worked together in the e-learning and Moodle space for a number of years.
They now work across 23 countries and provide Moodle services to a range of clients, including The Royal College of Surgeons, Wasabi, and a casino complex in Macau called Galaxy Entertainment.
We spoke to Francis to find out more.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Seb Francis: We provide a customised version of the open-source LMS, Moodle, for our clients to manage all areas of online teaching and learning. Moodle is extremely flexible and expandable, and as with any software, requires a certain level of technical expertise to maintain it. Titus is responsible for tailoring the platform to each client and managing the platform in the long-run.
We are a Certified Moodle Services Provider in both the UK and Hong Kong, and work with clients ranging from small schools with a few hundred users, up to multi-national companies with 100s of thousands of users. Moodle is an incredibly powerful tool and has over 100,000 registered sites and 150 million users.
Talk us through your team
We currently employ 18 people covering, sales, marketing, developers, tech support, and other roles.
With flexibility being one of our core values, we’ve always been less concerned about the physical location, and more concerned with people being the right fit and working in a way that suits them. Even though our head office is based at Salts Mill in West Yorkshire, we have staff working all around the globe and all different hours.
Our development team is a particular example of this as we have people working in Brighton, India, Iceland, and even Australia. We’re extremely proud of the team we’ve got and the combined experience is brilliant, with some of the best-known names within the edtech sector.
We’re currently undergoing a further recruitment drive and expect to add at least five people to the team this year, and at least a further 10 next year.
What was your ‘Eureka’ moment?
Both me and Mike worked at a Moodle partner previously, and we soon spotted areas for improvement and different markets that could be targeted. We were actually at a conference in 2013 when they came up with the idea, and after a few conversations (and beers!) it wasn’t long before the business plan was being written.
What makes you better than the competition?
I think there are multiple things that make us better than the competition. The internal team we have here at Titus Learning is something we’re immensely proud of, everyone here has a real sense of pride and ownership about their work which means the things we produce are truly great.
We work with an international client base stretching from the Americas through to East Asia, but the majority of our team is based in the UK. You really have to be flexible when this is the case and accommodating to the needs of the client, and this belief has stayed true to our team. We’re often told how much we ‘go above and beyond’ and how proactive we are to make sure the client gets what they need.
We’ve never enjoyed the thought of a client having to pick up the phone to us to make a change, and always strive to be proactive in making changes we think the client would benefit from.
What’s it like being a tech company in your city/region?
Yorkshire isn’t called ‘God’s Own County’ for nothing! More seriously, we love working where we do. The prices in the Leeds/Bradford area are much more reasonable than other areas of the country, particularly the South East. The transport links are getting better and better and, with clients as far spread as ours, it’s an important factor for us.
Leeds truly is booming at the moment, and the growth of business, especially around technology in this area, is a great thing to see and has been a great help to us. We currently work in Salts Mill in Saltaire, a UNESCO world heritage site (which is always great to tell people), built by Sir Titus Salt, our namesake.
What’s your investment journey to date?
We’re really proud to be bootstrapped to date and so Mike and I are still 50/50 owners. After proving the business model over the past five-to-six years and remaining profitable all the time, we’re now open to the idea of receiving funding to accelerate our growth as we move into the next chapter.
What’s on the horizon for your company?
In Q3 of this year, Moodle will be providing a new product called Moodle Workplace. Where Moodle has traditionally been associated with education, Moodle Workplace is built to accommodate workplace learning, and this is also coinciding as we start to do more and more work with corporate clients.
This is the first time Moodle has released a new product at this scale since it was created in 2002, and we’re eager to see what will happen. We’ve spent a large part of this year preparing ourselves to be in the right position for when this is released. It’s going to be a busy time!