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Third Space Learning
Tom started Third Space Learning in 2013. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Third Space Learning?
I studied Philosophy and Politics at University, before spending the first few years of my career working in investment in London. Whilst I am glad that I worked in finance, it was never a career for me. I enjoyed meeting company management teams and analyzing their outlook to inform investment decisions. But, in truth, I always wanted to be on the other side of the table helping to build a business. That said, understanding the financial and operational structures of businesses, and how this relates to their plans, is undoubtedly valuable in building a business and working with investors.
I think success is often based on learning quickly enough from your mistakes, such that you are constantly improving.
My family is all entrepreneurs. Both of my parents are, which must have influenced me and my brother and sister. All three of us siblings have founded our own businesses so now we have a full house of entrepreneurs. I guess that growing up in this environment gave us confidence in entrepreneurship as a means of building a career and that the risk was worth it (even if that meant failure). Certainly, it helped to have encouragement and support from our parents that we should go for it and had their total support. I even remember being discouraged from my original decision to work in Finance!
When I did take that first step, I didn’t know that I would end up in education. I am neither a teacher nor a technologist by background. I am not sure if this was a help or a hindrance in founding and building Third Space. Probably I think it helps to come at a problem without too much knowledge as to the market realities that relate to this. That said, market insight and research can suggest a good counter-argument to this view, and are clearly essential to launch and growth.
I left investment in 2009 and later that year I founded a company called BrightSpark, which was also in the online tutoring sector. The initial idea was based on my experiences of online learning for exams in finance (CFA), and my experiences of being a tutor and having been tutored. This structure was focused on building a global tutor community to deliver pre-designed online lessons to students in both schools and at home. I sold BrightSpark to TES Global, one of the largest global online teacher communities, in 2012.
This was a very positive and formative experience in how to build a business and to the education and edtech world that shaped my ambitions for launching Third Space in 2013.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater