Downing Ventures leads investment in BBC Maestro

Downing Ventures has announced its role as lead investor in BBC Maestro, a new e-learning service designed in partnership with BBC Studios, that launches today.

Additional funding was provided by Great Point Ventures. BBC Maestro offers courses that are taught by some of the most experienced and talented creators in the world – the Maestros – including Gary Barlow, David Walliams, Jed Mercurio and Marco Pierre White.

In a year where the arts have taken a hit, and people have limited means to experience them, BBC Maestro is providing an opportunity for creativity to flourish and thrive in the comfort of our own homes. Open to all, users are taught through a series of digital tutorials by an expert who is internationally renowned in their respective field.

2020 has seen the exponential growth of online digital classes and e-learning, and this growth seems set to continue: the global “Mass Open Online Courses” (MOOC) market size is expected to increase from $3.9 billion in 2018 to $20.8 billion by 2023. BBC Maestro illustrates the creative possibilities that the MOOC market is able to offer consumers.

Each course is personally crafted by the Maestro, as an intimate and informative experience that brings them directly into the lives of the participants. Their motivational courses are designed to provide a combination of practical skills and insight, and are as inspirational as they are instructional.

Each BBC Maestro course is beautifully filmed in 4K resolution and offers several hours of content, for both novices and aficionados, broken down into 20 to 40 easily digested lessons accompanied by downloadable course notes filled with hints and tips. There is a one-off cost of £80.00 per course that allows participants unlimited access. The courses can be viewed on most devices with an internet connection and a web browser, such as mobile, tablet, laptops, and desktop computers.

The service launches today with four courses:

● Over 45 million albums sold, with 12 number ones, Ivor Novello winning songwriter and musician Gary Barlow, teaches Song Writing

● 40 million books sold, 29 books written and the UK’s best-selling children’s author David Walliams, teaches Writing for Children

● Multi-award winning screenwriter and creator of Line of Duty and Bodyguard, Jed Mercurio, teaches Writing Drama for Television

● The Godfather of modern British gastronomy, and the first British 3 Michelin starred chef Marco Pierre White, teaches Delicious Food Cooked Simply

The service will then quickly expand to cover a diverse range of subjects and Maestros including:

Malorie Blackman – Writing for Young Adults
Heston Blumenthal – Ingenious Cooking at Home
Ozwald Boateng – Fashion Design: From the Blank Page to the Catwalk
Helena Bonham Carter – Acting
Julia Donaldson – Writing Children’s Picture Books
Peter Jones – Entrepreneurship
Sir Tim Rice – Performing and Writing Musical Theatre
Vineet Bhatia – Teaching Indian cuisine
Jancis Robinson – An Understanding of Wine

Stephen Davies, Managing Director of BBC Studios, Consumer Products & Licensing said: “BBC Maestro offers the ultimate guides for anyone who has a dream or a passion that they’ve always wanted to perfect. Whether you want to write a best-selling book or TV series, become a songwriter, learn to act, cook like a Michelin-starred chef or become an entrepreneur, these lessons provide a rare opportunity for novices and experienced amateurs alike to hone their craft and learn from the very best in the world.”

Richard Lewis, Partner at Downing Ventures said: “BBC Maestro has developed a unique platform that connects people to some of the most extraordinary creative talent out there. We are incredibly excited about the opportunities that BBC Maestro offers consumers and look forward to assisting the team as the platform continues to grow and launch new content over the coming weeks and months.”