Learning Pool has paid an undisclosed sum for True Office Learning, a firm in the United States which specialises in compliance training.

True Office was at one time owned by the New York Stock Exchange.

Learning Pool’s chief executive Ben Betts said the deal with True Office Learning is “a significant step” for the Derry-based company.

“In the past two years, the way we work and learn has changed dramatically, and our aim is to lead the way in reshaping the new workplace learning landscape,” Mr Betts said.

The addition of True Office should take Learning Pool’s annual turnover to around £50m. The firm is aiming to significantly grow its business in the US where it already has an office in Colorado.

True Office’s major clients include the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and the agri-food company, Cargill. Learning Pool was founded in 2006 by Paul McElvaney, who is now the firm’s executive chair.

The company provides online training courses for a range of major businesses and public sector organisations.

Last year a US private equity firm, Marlin Equity Partners, bought a majority stake in the business.

The 13th annual Golden Bridges Conference has taken place, showcasing the best of Ireland North West to influential US business and political leaders.

This year’s event was held virtually at Gteic in Gweedore, County Donegal, and featured prominent speakers discussing themes of investment, innovation, tourism, culture and education.

The conference, held last month, gave the global audience a unique insight into how people in the border region of Derry, Strabane and Donegal are continuing to work in close collaboration to attract investment, create jobs and boost the economy post-pandemic.

The event, jointly coordinated by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council, aims to promote partnerships between Ireland Northwest and Boston, Massachusetts.

Catch up on Golden Bridges 2021 at https://aisling-events.com/watch-golden-bridges-2021/

Learning Pool has agreed to a new investment from Marlin Equity Partners which will support the e-learning company’s continued growth and create 100 new jobs.

Founded in Derry and currently ranked as one of the top 60 Large Best Companies to Work for in the UK, Learning Pool employs more than 260 people across the UK and US.

The Marlin investment will facilitate further job creation, with plans in place to hire an additional 100 Learning Pool employees across the group this year. 

As part of the investment, Marlin will acquire the shareholding of Carlyle Cardinal Ireland, who invested in Learning Pool in 2016. Since then, Learning Pool has seen revenue increase four-fold and made four acquisitions, most recently acquiring US-based Remote Learner. Marlin is expected to help accelerate growth both organically and through additional acquisitions.

Learning Pool Team with Marlin Equity Partners

A virtual event promoting the North West as a great place to learn, work and visit will be held on the eve of St Patrick’s Day.

The Destination Derry initiative is holding a free evening of celebrations to connect Derry diaspora from all over the world with their hometown on March 16.

The event will include entertainment from Ulster University students, conversations with people who have chosen Derry as the location for their business or place of work, and a photo and video exhibition of previous St Patrick’s Day events in the city.

There will also be the opportunity to network with others worldwide in breakout Zoom rooms, and Foyle Search and Rescue will share how people can help them in their vital work.

Destination Derry was created by homebuilder Taggart Homes and its website (www.destinationderry.com) includes business support information, a blog, and Live, Learn, Work and Visit sections.

Tickets for the free St Patrick’s event can be booked at https://buytickets.at/destinationderry

Local company Learning Pool has announced the acquisition of US-based Remote Learner.

Paul McElvaney Learning Pool CEO

Situated in Denver, Colorado, the LMS (Learning Management System) specialist has represented more than a million users for over two decades, with clients including recruitment giant Indeed, Royal Caribbean Group and Ultimate Kronos Group.

Remote Learner is the fourth firm to join the Learning Pool Group in recent years and the news follows strong 2020 annual results for the Derry-based e-learning business, which saw revenues up 32% to £18.1m.

Learning Pool CEO Paul McElvaney said: “This acquisition puts the Group in great shape to accelerate our already ambitious customer satisfaction and growth targets in the North American region and takes the global Learning Pool team to more than 260 dedicated and talented people.”

A transatlantic conference hosted virtually in Derry’s Guildhall has attracted a record number of global participants.

The 12th Golden Bridges Conference and Awards ceremony saw political leaders, business and community representatives and education providers from the North West and Boston share their experiences of dealing with the COVID pandemic and preparing for Brexit.

The conference saw more than 500 registrations from all over the world and its influential delegates and speakers included Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue, and Seagate CEO Dave Mosley.

The challenge faced by the Ireland NW region in dealing with the pandemic was a predominate feature of the conference, with inputs and views from various community, cultural and commercial sector representatives from both sides of the Atlantic.

The annual Golden Bridges conference, usually held in Boston, aims to promote partnerships between Ireland Northwest and Boston, Massachusetts and highlight various community, business, and education initiatives in the two regions by bringing together influential business and political leaders.

You can watch the event back at www.aisling-events.com

FinTrU has been named in this year’s Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 as the 42nd fastest-growing company across the whole of the UK. The league table features the UK’s 100 private companies with the fastest growth over the last three years.

FinTrU Founder & CEO, Darragh McCarthy, said “This is a fantastic achievement and something that all our employees should be immensely proud of. Each and every member of the team has played a crucial role in FinTrU’s success so far and this national recognition is testament to their hard work and dedication during their FinTrU careers.”

The league table ranks businesses across the whole of the UK and FinTrU is the only company from Northern Ireland featured in the list.

FinTrU Chief of Staff, Katrien Roppe, also added “We are delighted that FinTrU has received this accolade. This is not only recognition for this year but for the past number of years in FinTrU’s short history. During this time, our employees have excelled professionally and demonstrated ambition with humility, whilst our company has undergone rapid growth. We recently opened our first US premises in New York, which demonstrates our commitment to expand our global footprint.”

Despite the pandemic, FinTrU has proven to very resilient during 2020 with a growth rate of 75% driven by operational excellence. The company has secured eight new client contracts and two additional Tier 1 Investment Bank clients during this period.

About FinTrU

Founded in December 2013, FinTrU is a multi-award winning RegTech company in the Financial Services sector that is committed to giving local talent the opportunity to work on the global stage with the largest International Investment Banks. FinTrU works with Tier 1 Investment Bank clients to find solutions to help them meet with their regulations in areas such as; Legal, Risk, Compliance, KYC, Operations, Consultancy and Technology. FinTrU employs over 700 people across Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, London and New York.

The head of Allstate NI has paid tribute to hundreds of staff in the North West for helping ensure the firm’s continued success during the Covid-19 crisis. 

The business, which is now Northern Ireland’s largest IT firm, was established in 1998 to provide high quality software development services and business solutions in support of its US-based parent company, the Allstate Corporation. It employs 900 people in its Derry and Strabane offices, and a further 1500 staff in Belfast. Allstate took the decision to move all 2400 staff to virtual working in mid-March, as the global pandemic loomed. Since then, the company said it has managed to maintain productivity levels and a steady order book – an achievement managing director John Healy attributes to the talent, skills and connectivity found in the North West, and Northern Ireland in general. 

“I’m hugely proud of how the workforce has responded to this. We’ve managed to get all our resources home, and maintained high levels of productivity. As I talk to the leaders back in the US, they are incredibly happy with what we’ve managed to achieve here,” the Derry native said. “We already have a culture within the business of people working from home; we have the infrastructure to allow that to happen, and we periodically test it. But whenever you’re doing it for real, to watch how people respond, now for over 11 weeks, it’s just been amazing.” Staff from the Derry and Strabane sites were “incredibly busy” as Covid-19 unfolded, with part of Allstate’s technology helpdesk functionality run in these locations. “During the initial weeks of the crisis, those teams in the North West helped our colleagues right around the globe to move quickly and safely to working from home,” added Mr Healy. “The volumes have now come back down to normal levels, but definitely they were key to the success of the corporation as a whole as we all move to new ways of working.” 

As a major centre for innovative software development, covering the full lifecycle from design to maintenance and support, the local wealth of talent and experience was a huge draw for Allstate. Asked what message he would give to other investors who are considering the North West as a location, Mr Healy said: “The initial set-up of Allstate in the North West was around getting access to a deep talent pool, not just in Derry and Strabane, but also from hinterland such as Donegal. “What we’ve managed to achieve over the years that we’ve operated out of the North West shows that decision was absolutely spot on. These are really talented individuals who are making a great contribution to the success of all of our businesses. “And the innovation, the resilience, the ingenuity of the people who are making it work, from home, in recent weeks has been great.” 

Mr Healy predicted longer term changes to working practices for many businesses, including Allstate NI. “We’ll still have the office and we’ll still have people who are calling in to work with colleagues and interact with others, but I think it will definitely change our perception around how much we need to be in the office and how that space is used,” he said. “Whenever you’re working in a hi-tech environment like ours, as long as you’ve got your laptop and a connection to the internet, you’re able to connect onto the Allstate infrastructure and do your job from wherever you find yourself.” The broadband infrastructure in employees’ homes has been holding up “incredibly well”, Mr Healy added. “We’ve had very few issues with connectivity for our employees when they’ve been working from home. “It’s fantastic that we can have everybody at home, safe and secure, at a time of crisis.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, praised Allstate NI’s teams in Derry and Strabane for their resilience and innovation during the Covid 19 crisis. “The global outbreak of Covid 19 created unprecedented challenges to Allstate and how they provide their software solutions and services,” he noted. “The team in Derry and Strabane displayed resilience and innovation in quickly moving to remote working and a virtual office space to ensure their client’s services continued as normal. “Allstate are a shining example to other prospective investors of the talent pool that exists in this region who can meet the needs of global companies and rise to the challenges posed during periods of uncertainty.” 


A cybersecurity company has announced 70 new jobs in Derry-Londonderry as part of a £4.5 million investment.

Based in the city, MetaComplance develops cloud software for cybersecurity and compliance, providing software solutions and e-learning content to educate employees on the dangers of a cyberattack.

The firm is looking to grow its business into new markets in the US and Europe. The 70 new jobs, which will help develop the cybersecurity learning market via cloud-based solutions, will inject an estimated £1.9 million per year in additional salaries into the local economy.

MetaCompliance chief executive Robert O’Brien said: “Our ambition is to be internationally recognised in our field of expertise. We have seen a rapid global increase in the demand of cybersecurity products and services, particularly since GDPR has been implemented.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered £695,000 of support towards creating the new jobs and market development activity.

John Hood of Invest NI said: “MetaCompliance is already a strongly established business within the cybersecurity sector. The creation of these jobs will build upon its previous success and help the company to expand its presence in the North West, the cybersecurity market, and in new markets.

Invest NI has previously supported MetaCompliance with job creation investment in 2017; management and digital training for employee development; and R&D support for its Voyager and MyCompliance Cloud user awareness cloud solutions. The company is also currently receiving support through Invest NI’s Skills Growth Programme.

Alchemy Technology Services has announced their partnership with Silicon Valley software company Guidewire PartnerConnect as a consulting alliance member at the Select level.

The Derry~Londonderry based firm has made the announcement just under a year after its official launch in the city last September. Since then, Alchemy has employed 62 full time permanent staff against its three year target of 250+ staff to work on insurance software implementation projects across Europe.

 “We are pleased to join Guidewire PartnerConnect as a Consulting partner, especially given that our focus on collaboration and investing in our people aligns us both culturally and operationally with Guidewire,” said John Harkin, the company’s CEO and Founder. “This is a great acknowledgement of the work we have done over the past year and to be in partnership with an industry leader such as Guidewire confirms that we are moving in the right direction. We look forward to working with Guidewire and helping to ensure that insurers’ digitization projects are delivered with the expertise needed globally.”

“We welcome Alchemy Technology Services as a Guidewire alliance member,” said Lisa Walsh, vice president of Global Alliances at Guidewire Software. “We are pleased to work with a company whose values are consistent with our own, and we are excited to expand our relationship with them.”

Alchemy Technologies provides talent and resources to support insurers in their efforts to modernize and grow their technology platforms. Alchemy’s near-shore resourcing allows for quick and efficient deployment of services to insurers across Europe. Backing from Invest NI and the Department for the Economy supports the company’s intensive training plans enabling them to provide fully certified consultants.

Guidewire PartnerConnect’s consulting partners provide consulting services in areas such as business transformation and strategy and implementation, as well as in related delivery services. It is a subsidiary of Guidewire Software, who provides software, services, and partners ecosystem to enable customers to run, differentiate, and grow their business, serving more than 350 companies in 40 countries.