The Ghent e-learning company U&I Learning has changed its name – now Flowsparks – and business model. It aspires to become a global player. ‘We are so disruptive that we are unique.’
When the company was still called U&I Learning, it made tailor-made digital courses for mainly corporate customers. A team of graphic artists and specialists in didactics made these courses. In 2017 a new product was presented, Flowsparks. That is software-as-a-service (SaaS) that allows customers to create their own digital training courses and compete with companies such as Adobe and Articulate.
The e-learning specialist is located in Ghent and Eindhoven. He is focusing on software-as-a-service (SaaS), with a subscription model that allows customers to create their own digital training courses.
Turnover rose last year from 6.5 to 7.8 million. This increase is attributable to the recurring licences.
Net profit amounted to 1.3 million euros, compared to 1.1 million in 2020.
Templates guarantee that these courses are still well structured from a didactic perspective. The fact that the company’s name was changed to Flowsparks at the beginning of last year says everything about the success of this approach. Flowsparks is already being used in about 150 countries.
We will have to attract new people for a long time to come.
Flowsparks will continue to offer support services, but the focus is now on a subscription model. Of the 7.4 million euro operating income last year, 53.6 percent came from license sales. In 2019 that was 36.3 percent. ‘Our model is disruptive in the sector,’ says Cédric Herregodts, the commercial director of the company, which has 65 employees and is located in the Ghent MeetDistrict in the Ghelamco Arena and in Eindhoven.
Proximus and Belfius
Resellers are particularly important for the global rollout. It has recently partnered with UK e-learning specialist GuyKat, who will distribute the company’s software in the UK and US. ‘We have invested in a sales and marketing machine. Now the speed with which we bring in new customers is very important. We want to become a global player’, says Herregodts.
‘The growth comes not only from new customers, but also from existing customers where the system is used more and more widely. BASF, Belfius were among the first customers in 2017 and their use grew very strongly,” says Herregodts. ‘Proximus also expanded strongly after an initial application at the helpdesk’, says Jacobs, chief customer success officer. Some new customers are Atos, Rituals, Etex, Police Netherlands, Manpower and the European Committee of the Regions.
In order to scale up further, the intention is to quickly expand to about 25 sellers in Belgium and the Netherlands. Now there are about 15 of them. ‘We will have to attract new people for a long time to come’, says Herregodts. ‘There is really a war for talent going on’, says Jacobs.
Taking over a similar company is out of the question, because our model is so disruptive that we are unique.
The fact that Flowsparks is on the Free Market of Euronext is a ‘historical fact’, says Paul De Schrijver, the chairman of the board of directors. ‘We have a culture of strict governance, so it’s not a hindrance.’ It is also not appropriate to attract external capital providers in the short term. ‘We have ample cash reserves and, if necessary, additional borrowing capacity to finance our international roll-out.’
‘Acquiring a similar company is not an option now, because our model is so disruptive that we are unique.’