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Deal 5: Turing College Co-Founder Benas Sidlauskas on EUR 1.2 Million Investment Round

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On September 2, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Motieka & Audzevicius had advised Turing College as the recipient of a EUR 1.2 million investment from Startup Wise Guys and the Motieka Investment Fund. CEEIHM spoke with Co-founder & CBDO of Turing College, Benas Sidlauskas, to learn more about the deal.

CEEIHM: To start, what is Turing College and can you tell us a few words about its history?

Benas: Turing College is an educational coding institution where all learning processes are fully automated and that runs on smart software that operates as the learning experience platform once a student logs in. We, as the three co-founders, always played with the idea of an educational ecosystem, and we had the basic idea almost five years ago.

As a first step, we launched the Turing School, where we teach IT in high schools across Lithuania. Turing College followed down the line, and when I say ecosystem, I am referring to our entire set-up, aiming to offer our students the opportunity to learn the basics of programming and creating the branding behind our program to provide these students with the opportunity to access higher education or top-notch IT companies.

I think one of the things that make us stand out is the payment options we make available to our students. They can opt to either pay upfront for the program or sign up for an income share agreement, based on which we provide the technical skills and, in exchange, the student agrees to pay us back a percentage of his/her income for a fixed period of time once they achieve a certain income threshold.

Really, the main idea behind the whole ecosystem we are creating is to let the best talents access the best education, irrespective of their cash availability, to allow them to gain the skills needed to enter the market – either on their own or through our hiring partners.

CEEIHM: What was it about the company that you believe made it particularly attractive to investors?

Benas: A few elements really. First, it was the idea itself – everything that I explained earlier. Second, I think there was a lot of confidence awarded in the persistency we showcased over the last five years, especially in light of us bootstrapping all these initiatives without any external financing. Lastly, the team that we have in place and that we promised our investors to have going forward having brought together excellent professionals in all areas, from the educational team that builds the curriculum to the marketeers and the product development teams.

CEEIHM: What is the EUR 1.2 million raised intended for? What can we expect next from Turing College?

Benas: First, we were happy to have hit the target in terms of actual value. We raised the total amount that we were aiming for. The main driver for raising this capital was that we wanted to gather top EU researchers in the fields of psychology and neuroscience to help us by conducting studies on learning methodologies. The biggest chunk of the funding is designated for academic research meant to both prove our concept and help develop our product overall. 
Beyond that, we will continue to develop our learning experience platform to ensure that it runs efficiently as a learning environment and dedicate some resources towards the development of our income share agreement administration software.

CEEIHM: What was Motieka & Audzevicius's specific mandate? What aspects was the firm tasked with assisting on?

Benas: They provided legal advice on a range of aspects from the investment term sheets (in total 13 different versions before approving them), then the investor agreement, and the shareholder agreement. They also helped coordinate the corporate changes as well as being involved in the merger of our two companies to make one holding company that brought together Turing School and Turing College.

CEEIHM: And leading from that, why did you choose this firm in particular to advise on the deal?

Benas: Because it is a leading firm that we trust. We were advised by them from the very beginnings and we were never let down. We also saw it as an opportunity to learn several legal matters that we may need to understand even further down the line and we thought we’d be best off doing so from the best. Beyond all of that, not so long ago we were the first start-up where they invested directly so we knew they were directly motivated to provide the best support possible.


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