2021 is in full swing, and so is the corporate training market. From investments in innovative learning technologies to compliance training solutions, here are the deals we took note of in the second quarter of 2021.
The learning technologies segment of the corporate training market saw ample activity this past quarter. This makes sense: Even with social distancing requirements easing up, remote work and learning are here to stay, and employers are looking for technologies and solutions that bring learning to their employees when and where they need. Last quarter, deals for this segment of the market included:
- Kahoot!, a global learning platform company, acquired Motimate, an employee engagement and learning app provider.
- Attensi, a corporate learning technology company, announced a $25 million investment from Lugard Road Capital, DX Ventures and existing shareholder Viking Ventures.
- Area9 Lyceum, a developer of adaptive learning platforms, received a strategic investment from LEGO Ventures.
- Upskilling platform Degreed raised $153 million in Series D funding co-led by Sapphire Ventures and Riverwood Capital.
- Ingram Content Group, which connects people with content in all its forms, announced an agreement for Francisco Partners to acquire VitalSource Technologies, an educational technology solutions provider.
- Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Absorb Software, a cloud-based learning and performance management software provider.
- Luminate Capital Partners announced a strategic growth investment in Axonify, a leader in frontline employee training software.
- Synthesia, an artificial intelligence (AI)-generated video platform, secured a $12.5 million Series A funding round led by FirstMark.
- FranklinCovey, a global company specializing in organizational performance improvement, acquired Strive, an EdTech startup.
- Connecteam, an employee app for organizations with deskless workers, announced a $37 million funding round led by Insight Partners, OG tech and Wix’s leadership team.
- SightCall, a leading augmented reality (AR)-powered visual assistance platform, closed a $42 million Series B funding round led by InfraVia Capital Partners.
- com., a work operating system (Work OS), announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form F-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) relating to the initial public offering of its ordinary shares.
- Pathrise, an online mentorship and job placement platform for professionals in tech, secured $9 million in Series A funding.
- Poised, a subscription-based, AI-powered communications coach, raised $4.5 million in seed funding.
- CYPHER LEARNING, a provider of learning management systems (LMSs) for enterprises and educational institutions, raised a $40 million growth equity round from Invictus Growth Partners.
- io, an immersive training platform, secured “significant seed capital” from venture capital firm N49P to fund its growth.
- 2U, Inc., a global leader in education technology, and edX, a leading online learning platform and education marketplace, entered into a definitive agreement to join together to pave the way for a new era of online learning.
- Pluralsight, Inc., a technology workforce development company, entered into a definitive agreement to acquire A Cloud Guru, a cloud skills development platform.
Performance Management and Upskilling
The coronavirus pandemic forced organizations worldwide to adapt business processes on demand. To do so, many of them looked to L&D for rapid upskilling and performance management solutions. As such, this market segment was ripe with deals last quarter:
- Pathlight, a software as a service (SaaS) platform that helps organizations upskill their customer-facing teams, announced a $25 million financing round led by Insight Partners.
- Paycor HCM, Inc., a SaaS provider of human capital management solutions, filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the SEC relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its common stock.
- 15Five, a human-centered performance management platform, acquired Emplify, an employee engagement software provider, for $50 million.
- Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, acquired Koff & Associates, Inc., which provides human resources (HR) services to the public sector across California.
- BetterWorks, a strategy execution software provider, announced an additional $61 million funding round led by current investors.
- Worksome, a freelance talent management platform, secured $13 million in a Series A funding round.
- Eightfold AI, a provider of an AI-powered talent intelligence platform, raised a $220 million Series E funding round.
The compliance sector of the corporate training market saw also saw some activity last quarter:
- Carimus, a software development, creative services, and web and app development provider, acquired JouleBug, a sustainability app.
- Ornikar, a specialist in driver training and road awareness, closed a $20 million Series C funding round led by KKR.
- CeriFi, a Leeds Equity Partners portfolio company, announced the acquisition of CPMI Professional Development, an insurance pre-licensing and continuing education courses provider.
- SafetyCulture, a global operations platform, announced a $2.2 billion valuation.
- KnowBe4, Inc., a provider of a security awareness platform, announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 9,500,000 shares of its Class A common stock at a price to the public of $16.00 per share.
- Unmind, a workplace mental health platform, closed a $47 million oversubscribed Series B funding round led by EQT Ventures.
- Genstar Capital announced an agreement to acquire a majority ownership stake in Vector Solutions, a software solutions provider for training, risk management, workforce management and operational readiness.
- KnowFully Learning Group, a provider of continuing professional education, exam preparation courses and digital learning solutions to the accounting, finance and healthcare sectors, acquired Creative Educational Concepts (CEC), an accredited provider of interprofessional continuing education for health care workers.
- TrueLearn, a health care education platform, acquired Picmonic, a leading audio-visual learning platform.
- Vault Platform, a workplace ethics and compliance platform, closed an $8.2 million Series A funding round led by Gradient Ventures.
IT and Technical Training
Information technology (IT) and technical skills are always in demand, perhaps even more so with a widespread shift to virtual and hybrid work. Last quarter, we saw the following IT and technical training deals:
- Alpine Investors announced a partnership with Interskill Learning, a leading independent supplier of online mainframe training.
- Pluralsight, Inc., a technology workforce development company, announced that Vista Equity Partners has successfully completed its acquisition of Pluralsight for $22.50 per share.
- Educate 360 Professional Training Partners acquired Pierian Data, Inc., a technology training provider with a focus on Python programming language courses, data science courses and machine learning (ML) courses.
- Educative, an interactive hands-on skills development platform for software developers and companies, announced a $12 million Series A funding round led by Matrix Partners.
- Atlan, a data collaboration workspace, closed a $16 million Series A funding round led by Insight Partners.
Other Deals by Market Segment
Sales Training and Enablement
- Gong, a revenue intelligence leader, raised $250 million in Series E funding led by Franklin Templeton.
- Atrium, a data-driven sales management platform, announced a $13.5 million seed funding round with key investments from Bonfire Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Charles River Ventures and First Round Capital.
- ExecOnline, an online leadership development provider, announced a $45 million Series D funding round led by OMERS Growth Equity.
Measurement & Analytics
- Emmersion, a leader in automated language assessments, closed an early-state $5.5 million round of funding led by Sepio Capital.
- PARIN, a workforce development journey company, acquired CommunityPro Suite, a multi-agency case management and referral system.
- Workrise, a leading workforce management platform, raised $300 million in Series E funding led by Baillie Gifford.
- Restaurant365, a restaurant management platform, acquired Compeat, a provider of restaurant workforce intelligence software.
eLearning and Remote Learning Solutions
- Lingoda, an online language school, raised $68 million in growth equity led by Summit Partners.
- Class Technologies Inc., a software that adds learning tools to Zoom, announced $12.5 million in additional investments to accelerate the rollout of its software.
- Honorlock, an authentication and academic integrity platform, raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Owl Ventures.
- Loom, a video messaging platform for work, announced $130 million in Series C funding.
- MRCC Group, a transformative solutions company, acquired digital learning provider G-Cube.
- GP Strategies Corporation, a global provider of workforce transformation solutions, has reached an agreement with Toshiba America Energy Systems Corporation, an affiliate of Kawasaki, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation, for them to acquire its EtaPRO business.
What are your thoughts on the training market activity we saw last quarter? Let us know!