38. Perlego

Company Name: Perlego

Website: https://www.perlego.com

Founders: Gauthier Van Malderen and Matthew Davis

Business: Perlego is an online platform that gives customers access to academic and educational e-books.

Launched at the end of 2016, the online business Perlego is the first of its kind, being the only SaaS (software as a service) that offers unlimited access to academic literature. Being dubbed the “Spotify of textbooks”, the platform has partnerships with over 2,000 publishers, including the likes of Pearson, Kaplan, Bloomsbury and Princeton University Press.

In exchange for a small subscription fee, Perlego offers its customers unlimited access to 200,000+ e-textbooks, all available from most devices. The platform offers two subscription fee plans; either an annual package of £10 a month or a monthly package of £15 a month, offering university students 20% off both options.


Perlego was inspired by co-founder Gauthier Van Malderen, when struggling to keep up with the cost of his syllabus’s hefty list of textbooks. Whilst Van Malderen was thinking of all the online subscription plans he used for films (Netflix) and music (Spotify), the CEO was inspired to incorporate the same successful model into the field of academic literature.

After inspiration had struck, Gauthier Van Malderen teamed up with an old friend from school, Matthew Davis, and together the two created Perlego. For both founders, Perlego was not the first successful business venture – Van Malderen having successfully sold both of his previous creations (Teenage Tourist and Iconic Matter), whilst Davis had an impressive history in website building and development that started at the age of 12.

Within the company’s first year, its team had raised an impressive £850,000 in funding from such investors as Zoopla’s Alex Chesterman and Simon Franks. The co-founders have big plans for Perlego’s future, and in five years hope to become a global organisation with an office in the US.