ETU, Trinity College Dublin and SFI ADAPT Centre spinout, secures significant investment that will support accelerated growth for the learning technology leader

Dublin, Ireland, August 25, 2022: ETU, provider of the world’s leading learning simulation platform, today announced a strategic growth investment led by Mission Springs Ventures and Pacific Lake Partners, along with participation from other private investors.  

ETU is originally a spinout of Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics with links to the SFI ADAPT Centre. It was founded by Dr Declan Dagger, Prof Vincent Wade, Prof Michael Gill and Dr Brian Fitzmaurice and the platform was developed with two Trinity alumni, Dr Conor Gaffney and Gordon Power.  The company focuses on immersive learning technologies to help upskill workers across the globe.  In recent times it has expanded its Irish and US operations. This latest announcement sees leading US private investors back the company for growth.  

Mission Springs Ventures, an investment vehicle led by executive Katie Laidlaw, assembled the investor group and financing. The investment will fuel continued growth with additional capital and management resources focused on customer value creation. As part of the transaction, Ms Laidlaw will assume leadership of the business in the role of CEO. ETU’s co-founder, Dr Declan Dagger, will continue in his role as Chief Operating Officer of the company. 

Speaking about the investment, Dr Declan Dagger, COO for ETU, said:  “ETU is proud of its Irish roots. The company is built on leading-edge research from Trinity College Dublin and our growth has been supported by Enterprise Ireland.  That growth trajectory will continue with the new investment. Katie Laidlaw’s business acumen and keen leadership style is the perfect combination to lead ETU forward,” shares Declan Dagger, COO for ETU.

The corporate learning market is changing quickly due to the increased need to upskill hybrid workforces at scale. According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. Traditional virtual learning is contributing to employee fatigue and does not provide the opportunities to practice and develop the critical skills needed in the future of work. 

“Our growth shows that the market is primed for a Learning Simulation Platform that effectively develops and measures critical skills. ETU is leading the way with clients that include PWC, IBM, Merck, Deloitte, Microsoft and Macy’s,” shares Michael Veale, outgoing CEO for ETU.

Recent growth by ETU has taken several forms:

  • The business doubled annual revenue in 2021, and is on track to double revenue again in 2022.
  • ETU’s workforce increased 4x in 2.5 years.
  • Continued innovation of new features within the Learning Simulation Platform is growing the power of the solution with each release. 
  • The SaaS platform recently crossed the threshold of over 1 million learners worldwide.

Professor Vincent Wade, Chair of Artificial Intelligence at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics and Director of the SFI ADAPT Centre, said: “Founded on ground-breaking fundamental research in personalised and immersive learning technologies, the ETU team has constantly pioneered new innovations to be the market leader in this area. ETU has proven their immersive approach to be a more engaging and effective way of learning critical skills and we are very proud of their continued success.”

Jenny Melia, Technology and Services Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Irish innovators are increasingly playing critical roles in the transformation of sectors globally, and Enterprise Ireland is committed to nurturing this indigenous talent.  There is a long history of collaboration and partnerships in Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland is proud to foster this unique and rich ecosystem. Enterprise Ireland is proud to have supported ETU on its growth journey.  ETU is a wonderful example of an Irish company making a global impact, as they are now a successful market leader in immersive learning.“

“It’s with tremendous optimism that I join ETU and lead it into the next phase of growth. There is so much opportunity in front of this team and product. I am excited to serve the growing needs of our customers and the broader market,” says CEO, Katie Laidlaw.

For more information about personalized, immersive simulation learning and the positive impact it can have on deep employee engagement, visit

About Mission Springs Ventures

Mission Springs Ventures is an investment vehicle led by Katie Laidlaw, drawing upon her nearly two decades of business development and strategy experience. It was formed to identify and acquire a high-growth business, and then lead it for the long-term. 

About Pacific Lake Partners

Pacific Lake is the most experienced and largest investor dedicated to partnering with search fund entrepreneurs and helping them succeed. Pacific Lake works with talented entrepreneurs to find and acquire great companies and then galvanize growth. Pacific Lake offers best-in-class support for entrepreneurs, including searcher workshops and a range of post-acquisition initiatives conducted by our Value Creation Team.

About ETU

ETU partners with the world's leading brands to upskill employees digitally at scale. ETU’s solution provides immersive simulation-based learning that delivers breakthrough improvements in the application of skills. ETU was founded within Trinity College Dublin over 10 years ago. A passionate group of PhD researchers sought to transform the way learning was being delivered in corporate settings. They knew immersive training was the answer, and built a powerful platform that boosts learner engagement. A key differentiator of ETU’s Learning Simulation Platform is its ability to capture rich skill data that gives clients the talent analytics they need to make decisions on workforce gaps.

About the SFI ADAPT Centre

ADAPT is the world-leading SFI research centre for AI Driven Digital Content Technology hosted by Trinity College Dublin.  ADAPT’s partner institutions include Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin, Maynooth University, Munster Technological University, Athlone Institute of Technology, and the National University of Ireland Galway. ADAPT's research vision is to pioneer new forms of proactive, scalable, and integrated AI-driven Digital Content Technology that empower individuals and society to engage in digital experiences with control, inclusion, and accountability with the long term goal of a balanced digital society by 2030.