Digital Learning Institute Secures ​​​​​​​​€1.8 Million in Funding and Appoints New CEO to Drive Global Expansion

19 July

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Digital Learning Institute Secures ​​​​​​​​€1.8 Million in Funding and Appoints New CEO to Drive Global Expansion

The Digital Learning Institute (​​​​DLI​​​​), a provider of digital learning courses and upskilling programs, announces that it has successfully raised €1.8 million in investment from the Davy EIIS Fund (a joint venture between BDO and Davy), ​​Enterprise Ireland, and private investors from the digital learning industry.  

Commenting on the investment, DLI founder John Kilroy said the investment would allow the company to create an additional ten jobs over the next 12 months and deliver on the company’s ambitious international growth plans. “DLI has a vision to become the global leader in digital learning education, and this investment will help us accelerate this ambition over the next few years. As part of the funding round, we’re delighted to bring on board Aaron McKenna as the new CEO to spearhead growth.” 

The investment follows significant growth for the company in the past two years, capturing the accelerated global transition to digital learning. DLI works with multinational organizations and education institutions around the globe to help them develop world-class digital learning practitioners. Clients include the NHS, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Diageo.  

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said: “We are proud to back the Digital Learning Institute’s ambitious plans for growth. DLI is bringing innovation and adaptability to the critical area of upskilling and lifelong learning that can benefit the workforce and the wider economy. Under the leadership of new CEO Aaron McKenna, we are confident that DLI can go from strength to strength and expand its global footprint.” 

DLI was founded in 2021 by John Kilroy and Nicola O’Neill. The business currently delivers seven-figure revenue annually and employs 15 people from its base in Dun Laoghaire. DLI has served over 2,000 students and most of its revenues come from global markets. 

Incoming CEO, ​​Aaron McKenna​,​ brings a wealth of experience in scaling start-ups and driving growth. Previously, he founded and served as the CEO of the UCD Professional Academy, a university workforce upskilling subsidiary that grew from zero to 25,000 learners in just 3.5 years. He also held the position of Managing Director at the Digital Marketing Institute, which became the leading global certification body in digital marketing before being acquired by Spectrum Equity in 2017. 

Aaron McKenna commented about his appointment: “I am excited to join DLI and contribute to the growth of this dynamic Irish start-up. Coming from a large university, I have had a front-row seat to the disruption and opportunities arising out of the digital transformation of learning. The Digital Learning Institute is leading digital learning education in Ireland, and over the coming months will bring this expertise to a global audience of corporates and education institutions.” 

With a vision to become the global leader in digital learning standards, DLI aims to elevate the quality of digital education, foster an environment where educators and learners thrive, and create a future where education is universally accessible, adaptable, and profoundly impactful. The company’s mission is to empower individuals and organizations to excel in the rapidly evolving world of digital learning through innovative, accessible, and transformative educational experiences. 

DLI has set its sights on global expansion, with a particular focus on the US and UK markets. The company plans to invest in scaling its operations, enhance its research and development, and champion the importance of digital learning in addressing global challenges such as accessibility, inclusivity, and sustainability. 

Sinead Heaney, Partner, Corporate Investment at BDO, said on behalf of the Davy EIIS Fund “The Digital Learning Institute has achieved impressive growth over the past couple of years, establishing itself as a market leader in the digital learning sector. We look forward to working with John, Aaron, and the team, supporting their ambitious growth plans in this exciting sector.” 

For more information about the Digital Learning Institute and its course offerings, please visit ​ 

About Digital Learning Institute:

Digital Learning Institute (DLI) is a premier provider of courses for upskilling in digital learning, including learning design, instructional design, universal design, immersive learning, and more. DLI is dedicated to empowering individuals and organizations to excel in the rapidly evolving world of digital learning by providing innovative, accessible, and transformative educational experiences, industry-standard certifications, and continuous professional development opportunities. 

About The Davy EIIS Fund:

The Davy EIIS Fund is managed by BES Management DAC which is a joint venture between Davy and BDO. The Fund invests EIIS funding in Irish SMEs to support ambitious management teams to achieve their growth plans. They are Ireland’s longest running and most experienced BES/EIIS Fund manager and have successfully raised and invested over €200m in BES and EIIS funding over the past 25 years. 

About Enterprise Ireland:

Enterprise Ireland’s purpose is helping Irish companies to start, grow, innovate and win export sales. We work with internationally-focused Irish enterprises across all sectors of the economy, predominately with small and medium enterprises (SMEs)., supporting them to strengthen their competitiveness and productivity, increase innovation, and realise their growth potential, contributing to employment and economic growth across all regions.