AN E-LEARNING firm has expanded into Israel after joining a trade mission to the country with Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Dan Andersson, chief executive of LEO, based in Preston Crowmarsh near Wallingford, said the company now has local representatives in Israel – its 11th overseas market – to generate sales after the trip earlier this month, which focused on Tel Aviv.
He said of the city: “It’s very dynamic. It’s this can-do attitude. They are very much into entrepreneurship.”
Mr Andersson said Tel Aviv’s reputation as “Silicon Valley number two” and a melting pot that attracts business people from around the world was a good fit for LEO.
He added: “We teach people how to be more successful in business, how to create a business as entrepreneurs.”
LEO was one of 16 British companies on the trade mission.
Mr Andersson said: “We’re working with the City of London. We have connections with Boris Johnson’s office and were invited to apply.”
The group visited the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the local office of Google among other places.
It was the first time that Mr Andersson had met the charismatic London mayor and MP.
He said: “We had a couple of exchanges with him but we had never sat down at a table with him.
“He’s very much engaged with entrepreneurship.”
Israel was the latest country in LEO’s international expansion. The company also has offices in Dubai, Cairo, Istanbul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Bangkok, Mumbai, Toronto and Baden-Baden.
The original idea for the company, which he set up three years ago with co-founder Atif Kamran, was to be global.
He said: “We recognised there was a need for a UK brand to go into the educational space.”
Mr Andersson, 55, who previously worked as a training consultant and who lives in Warborough, Oxfordshire, said LEO, which stands for Learning Enterprises Organisation, currently had about 200,000 customers.
The firm has set a target of reaching one million customers in 2016.
The company’s income is also increasing rapidly.
Mr Andersson said annual revenue was about £30m in 2014 and he expected that to double in the current financial year.
He added: “Our business was designed to be scalable.
“Because we teach entrepreneurship, we have to demonstrate entrepreneurship.”
LEO sells online courses on subjects such as leadership, recruitment, team building, presentation skills and developing business plans. The company also offers online tuition, holds seminars for up to 3,000 people at a time, and last year diversified into launching its own digital currency, called a LEO coin as a rival to Bitcoin.
Mr Andersson, who is a majority shareholder, said the company’s expansion had been funded by cashflow rather than debt.
He added that the business now has 108 full-time employees, of whom 22 are based in Preston Crowmarsh.