Irish company, the UX Design Institute, has closed its first funding round after securing €500k from Enterprise Ireland and a number of private investors.
The investment will be used to accelerate the company’s expansion as it sets out to treble staff numbers over the next 18 months, enter new markets and further develop its online product offering. Established in 2013 by veteran user experience (UX) designer, Colman Walsh, the company has operated a profitable business from year one, with revenues on track to reach €1.2 million this year and €2.5 million in 2019.
The company was initially focused on closing the rapidly expanding UX skills gap in Ireland and now educates students globally, with 73% of its sales coming from abroad. UX is a design methodology which plays a similar role in the technology industry that architecture does in construction.
It provides high-level and detailed design to ensure digital products are easy to use and fit for purpose. UX is championed by tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
It’s a fast-growing sector with an estimated 580,000 UX designers needed in the tech industry in the EMEA alone by 2024.
In June of this year the Institute launched the world’s only university-accredited online UX course. Demand has been strong with over 400 students enrolled since launch. Students graduate with a Professional Diploma in UX Design and see it as a vital first step in getting on the UX employment ladder.
Last month the company announced it was hiring for 16 new positions to add to the seven staff members in its Dublin offices, with new positions to span sales, marketing, operations and finance.
“The UX Design Institute is putting a stake in the ground that sets the standard for UX education throughout the world,” says Walsh, founder and CEO. “We’ve identified a gap for university-accredited training and the opportunity to become the global leader in UX education and certification – a market estimated to be worth around 1.5 billion euro by 2021.”
“This recent cash injection will allow us to expand the business to meet the demand for professionally qualified UX designers, where some 9,000 vacancies arise per day in the US alone.”
More than 4,000 students have taken courses with the UX Design Institute with corporate clients such as Accenture, Dell, Deloitte, AIB, Ericsson and the European Space Agency working with the Institute to help upskill or re-skill staff.
An industry advisory council helps steer the Institute’s programmes in terms of what is relevant, current and necessary from an industry point of view. The council consists of a mix of tech giants, international recruitment firms and award-winning UX consultancies including Mastercard, SAP, Dell, RaboDirect and Morgan McKinley.