Discovery Expands with Espresso Acquisition

From Electronic Education Report, November 25, 2013

Discovery Communications (Silver Spring, MD) in November acquired Espresso Group Ltd, (London and Deerfield, IL), a provider of digital education content, primarily in the U.K.

The acquisition is part of Discovery’s overall expansion strategy for Discovery Education and is in line with Discovery Education’s plan to support educators globally as they transition from textbooks to digital learning environments.

Discovery will maintain Espresso’s London office while the Deerfield, IL, office will remain open for the next few months as Espresso’s U.S. business transitions to Discovery Education. A Discovery spokesperson told EER that a strong management team was one of the reasons for Discovery’s interest in Espresso; management largely will remain the same continuing to run the day-to-day operations of the business.

The Espresso executive team includes CEO and co-founder Lewis Bronze and president Richard McGrath.

Espresso Education serves nearly 50% of primary schools in the U.K. with its Espresso Primary services and has a number of U.S. school customers.

Growth Over 15 Years

Espresso was founded in 1997 with the goal of providing video and media-rich content with weekly updates in a browser-based network solution to classrooms. The company licenses content from third-party providers, but also shoots its own video and develops learning modules.

Seeing a gap in cross-curricular digital resources for PreK through grade 3 classrooms, Espresso Education brought its product line to the U.S. in 2011. Espresso looked to capitalize on the growing number of interactive whiteboards in U.S. classrooms by helping teachers deliver learning concepts with video and multimedia resources and interactive games.

Espresso worked to ensure that the content offered would be appropriate to U.S. schools. In 2011, Espresso released search-by-curriculum functionality with alignments to the Common Core State Standards and created a library of lessons with pre-made but editable routes to deliver and accentuate the standards with multimedia and video clips.