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Edtech company One on One chasing $358m IPO

One on One Educational Services, a provider of online study courses to a Caribbean market, is hunting fresh capital from the sale of shares on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in pursuit of its plan to grow its bottom line.

The edtech company, founded by Ricardo Allen nine years ago, wants to scale its business through the acquisition of complementary businesses, products or services.

Its M&A plans are yet to yet solidify, but One and One’s goal is to invest in next-generation learning content as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence tools in order to personalise its learning courses and make them more attractive to users of its platform.

It’s aim is to grow its subscriber base in new and existing markets and ultimately its bottom line, backed by the $358 million it is seeking to raise on the junior stock market this month.

Of the 380 million shares on offer – representing 20 per cent of the company – the majority are reserved for strategic partners, lead broker Sagicor Investments Limited, teachers, trainers and its employees, while just under a third or 121.25 million shares will be available to the general public.

The offer runs from August 12 to 19.

One on One Educational has also reserved 87 million shares for Sagicor Life Jamaica and PanJam Investment Limited, both of which will convert debt owed to them by the edtech company into equity. Shares for the convertible loan reserve pool are priced at 80 cents. All other investors will pay $1 per share.

“With this IPO, One on One is now poised to move to another level … We believe that we have a team with the necessary capabilities, and we are in the process of expanding our capacity to maximise the potential that the market for online learning has to offer,” the company said in its prospectus which was released on Friday.

The company’s board is made up of the former boss of Carreras Michael Bernard as chairman; founder and CEO Ricardo Allen; businessman John Bailey; Pam Jam Vice President Karen Vaz; CEO of iCreate Limited Tyrone Wilson; Chief Innovation Officer for NexGen Learning Solution Dr Coral Granston; and Sagicor Investments Jamaica Vice President in charge of capital markets, Mischa McLeod-Hines.

Former GraceKennedy chairman Douglas Orane is a mentor to the One on One board and a shareholder of the edtech company.

One on One started its operation back in November 2013 with two individuals and angel investment of $5 million. At its start-up, One on One offered face-to-face business model, focused on providing personalised in-class and in-home tutoring to high school students across Kingston and St Andrew, but changed focus in 2017 to become a full-fledged enterprise elearning company while discontinuing the face-to-face model.

The edtech company has a subscriber base of over 250,000 learners and has since grown into one of the largest online learning companies in the Caribbean, providing proprietary online learning platform and content to governments, businesses, and individuals across 15 countries.

The growth was in part boosted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced many from the classrooms into virtual learning.

Its product portfolio includes private-label online learning platform for business clients; educational management information system – a government service specifically designed to assist developing countries digitise their education systems and all the related core processes; and offline content cloud called Classroom in a Box.

Following its IPO, One on One intends to re-enter the business-to-consumer market segment with products such as ‘One on One for teachers and students’ that would connect knowledge sharers or teachers with students for a fee.

Another product it will offer in the retail space is ‘One on One for professionals and trainers’ in which trainers and training organisations are allowed use the company’s online learning platform to create, manage, market, and sell their online courses. The intent is to build a community of professionals across the region who will receive personalised career tracks, an example being real estate courses.

Additionally, One on One will introduce a commission-based business model for its retail product lines.

The company is projecting annual revenue of $334 million this financial year, with projected growth to $662 million by FY 2025.

Its most current earnings over nine months ending May 2022 puts its earnings at $40 million. The company projects that its annual earnings will reach $180 million by 2025.

If its IPO is successful, One on One Educational Services would be the second online learning service to enter the junior stock market this year, after Edufocal in March; and would be the third education/training company listed on the junior market, the other being iCreate, whose founder sits on One on One’s board.

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