Versari and AirSpeed: bringing Irish educational technology companies global

The Versari Hub in Dublin is helping education technology companies scale globally with the help of world-class unified communications from AirSpeed Telecom.

Parkes & Maguire originally worked together at Electric Paper, a company that was built in the 1990s, sold into ThirdForce plc in 2003 and was ultimately purchased by online learning giant Skillsoft. They had a vision of using their business-scaling experience to help a whole new generation of the most innovative companies in edtech.

“We are not an incubator or an accelerator; we work with companies who’ve already secured funding and now need practical support in scaling globally,” Alan said. “This post-funding stage is often where companies need the real support: they don’t just need capital, they need skills, advice, and what we would call ‘proper’ infrastructure in order to be seen by potential customers as credible. AirSpeed Telecom has been vital in providing the communications element of that infrastructure.”

Enabling the next generation of world-class edtech companies

Versari’s client companies are based in its nearly 6,000 square-foot premises in Dublin 2. This central location provides Versari’s hand-picked companies with everything they need in order to support global scaling. From their initial meeting, Versari was impressed with AirSpeed’s ideas for how to meet its client companies’ need for unified communications and internet services.

“AirSpeed is actually a great microcosm of what we at Versari are doing for our client companies,” Alan said. “These are early-stage technology businesses who have the challenge of presenting themselves in a ‘corporate’ way to the world. AirSpeed devised a way for us to offer a range of options to these companies: everything from managed firewall and voice calls to internet, PBX and voicemail."

“Our companies don’t want to give the impression to the world that they are working in a back bedroom or even in serviced offices. AirSpeed has helped us equip our companies with enterprise-class telecommunications – right down to the fact that they all have their own dedicated direct lines, billing and administration. This is the kind of infrastructure they couldn’t hope to afford on their own, and we are delighted to be working with AirSpeed to support our client companies in this critical way.”

A bright future for edtech

Alan speaks animatedly about the potential for edtech companies -- including their existing clients like BlikBook, Empower the User and Adaptemy.

“We had fun building an e-learning business in the late 1990s, but the technologies were not as groundbreaking as they are today. We have a strong conviction that the industry is now better placed than ever to deliver on the hype of a decade ago,” he explained. “Learning tools are available at an earlier age and to more people, and there really is a genuine opportunity to disrupt and change how things are taught. We’re delighted to be working with some of the most promising companies in Ireland, and we are equally happy that they are seeing the benefit: one of our client companies said that spending just a few months with us here has been transformational for their business.”

Looking ahead, Alan explains that Versari is eager to replicate what it has achieved in its Dublin location by creating or twinning with similar growth hubs in other locations, including internationally.

“Our ambition is to be much bigger than we are right now at 27 Lower Mount St., and it’s great to know that in AirSpeed, we have a communications partner who can grow with us.”