Darktrace backer Talis places fresh bet on digital skills start-up

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One of London’s leading backers of technology start-ups is leading a multimillion pound investment in Learning People, an online training company which its backers believes is well-placed to capitalise on the explosion in corporate demand for cybersecurity advice.

Sky News understands that Talis Capital, which is a shareholder‎ in businesses including Darktrace and Iwoca, will announce this week a fresh commitment to Learning People.

‎The online training‎ group and its subsidiary, Skillsfox, will also unveil the appointment to their advisory boards of Tony Douglas, former boss of the European operations of Skillsoft, a similar company sold to the buyout firm Charterhouse for $2bn‎.

‎Talis’s new backing for Learning People will follow an initial investment in 2016.‎

Its aim is to capture the significant growing demand from companies seeking training in digital skills, especially the prevention of cybercrimes such as that which affected British Airways earlier this month.

‎The fresh investment from Talis will be used to fuel the companies’ geographical expansion, at a time when th‎e global corporate training market alone is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of almost 10% during the next four years.

British Airways plane  Darktrace backer Talis places fresh bet on digital skills start-up skynews british airways plane 4413901
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British Airways suffered a data theft earlier this month

A report sponsored by the Government on the digital skills gap recently estimated that approximately 90% of jobs require some degree of digital skills, and that the economy forfeits around £63bn in lost income.‎ ‎

The cybersecurity workforce also continues to suffer severe shortages, with the demand expected to rise to 6m individuals globally next year.

‎Launched in 2010, Learning People was founded as a consumer-facing business, providing training and examinations recognised by examination boards in areas such as cybersecurity, coding and digital marketing.‎

The company subsequently launched Skillsfox with the aim of capturing a fast-growing corporate market, since when it has attracted clients including BP, KPMG and Vodafone.

Patrick Aylmer, CEO of Learning People, said:‎ “SkillsFox has seen us enter into a space in which we are convinced we can provide invaluable services to employers, allowing them to upskill and retain talent whilst increasing product.”

Vasile Foca, managing partner at Talis‎, added: “The speed of development in technology is disrupting the way people work, both positively and negatively. One of the results is that employees need to gain skills in which they have no experience, or which do not yet exist.” ‎



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