We are almost at the end of the year. As we do every quarter, let’s take a look at the mergers, acquisitions and investments that happened over July, August and September 2019.
Compliance and Health Care Training
To improve safety in the workplace using wearable technologies, RealWear closed its $80 million Series B funding round, led by Teradyne, Inc., in July. Its total funding to date is over $100 million. Later that month, Vector Solutions acquired IndustrySafe, a safety management software provider, in its third acquisition of the year. In August, EdApp, a microlearning platform, announced a $4.25 million investment from SafetyCulture, a safety and quality inspection software company. Finally, in September, Waud Capital Partners announced “a strategic partnership” with Health & Safety Institute, a compliance and safety training platform company.
Helping organizations manage compliance content and training, in July, ThinkHR and Mammoth HR merged and announced an investment from Guidepost Growth Equity in the combined company. Also that month, Thomson Reuters acquired HighQ, a collaboration and knowledge management platform for the legal and regulatory market, and compliance training company Media Partners closed a $5.6 million Series A-1 funding round, led by Byron Group LLC.
In the health care industry, Press Ganey Associates announced its acquisition by private equity funds and investment partners in July. Press Ganey provides a suite of health care performance improvement solutions. The following month, NextStep Interactive, a startup that trains displaced workers for health care careers, announced a $3 million investment from multiple education and impact investors. Also that month, Surgent, provider of continuing education and exam preparation courses, acquired Pharmaceutical Education Consultants, Inc., and Kaplan acquired health care test preparation assets from Becker Professional Education. Finally, Afya, a Brazilian medical education group, announced an initial public offering of 13,744,210 Class A common shares at $19 per share.
Content Development and E-Learning
Competentum, a full-stack training content development and learning platform company, was acquired by EPAM Systems, Inc. in July. Later in the quarter, TiER1 Performance, which provides services including performance management and learning and development (L&D), acquired Bottom-Line Performance, a custom training development company.
In the online training segment of the market, Leeds Equity announced an investment in Scaled Agile, Inc., which offers courses and certification for enterprise agility. Blue Canoe Learning received a $500,000 convertible note from Qualcomm Ventures for its English as a second language (ESL) mobile app. BTS, a “global strategy implementation firm,” acquired Swiss Virtual Business School (SwissVBS), a digital learning company, and online publishing company Holloway raised $4.6 million in seed funding. Finally, Coursera acquired Rhyme Softworks, “an online platform for hands-on projects.”
IT and Technical Training
As always, technical training is in high demand in the digital economy. This quarter, coding school Ironhack announced a $4 million investment from JME Venture Capital, bringing its total funding to $7 million, and bootcamp Career Karma raised a $1.5 million seed round. Pathstream, which creates technical education programs with Silicon Valley tech firms, and Kenzie Academy, a “college alternative providing job-focused technology training to middle America,” both closed Series A rounds — Pathstream of $12 million and Kenzie Academy of $7.8 million. WhiteHat, which provides apprenticeship programs for professional services and digital roles, announced $16 million in funding. Finally, CompTIA, the global technology trade association, acquired Metacog, Inc., an assessment, certification and training company.
Leadership Training and Development
The leadership training market is one of the fastest-growing segments of the training industry, and this quarter was no exception when it came to funding and acquisitions:
- Keystone Partners acquired Kensington International, Inc.’s career transition and leadership development business.
- Spencer Stuart acquired Aon’s culture and engagement, leadership assessment and development, and human resources (HR) and talent advisory businesses and combined them into a new unit called Kincentric: A Spencer Stuart Company.
- German coaching platform CoachHub raised €6 million ($6.67 million).
- Evans Incorporated, a management consulting firm, acquired Global Coaches Network, which certifies executive coaches.
- DDI Venture Group, DDI’s corporate venture fund, announced an investment in CoachLogix, a coaching platform provider.
- Korn Ferry acquired TwentyEighty, Inc. companies Miller Heiman Group (a sales training company), AchieveForum (a leadership development company) and Strategy Execution (a project management and leadership training company). The press release described all three acquisitions as adding to Korn Ferry’s leadership development offerings.
Learning Technologies and Platforms
Augmented reality (AR) saw some activity this quarter. Augmentir announced an “oversubscribed funding round” led by Pritzker Group Venture Capital for its AR software; Ario Technologies, Inc., provider of an AR software as a service (SaaS) platform, closed a $2 million venture round led by venture firm NRV; and Chinese AR company HiScene raised $35 million in Series C funding.
Also this quarter, Filtered raised £2.5 million ($3.2 million) for its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered learning recommendation platform, and Fuse Universal’s “next-generation” learning technology platform received growth funding from Octopus Investments. Capacity (formerly known as Jane.ai), a workplace digital assistant, closed a $13.2 million Series B round funded by private investors and angels.
More traditional learning platforms were not left out of the funding activity this quarter:
- Absorb Software acquired fellow learning management system (LMS) company eLogic Learning.
- Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc. announced a $150 million share repurchase program.
- Thought Industries, a customer training platform provider, received a growth investment from Luminate Capital Partners.
- Jorsek, a knowledge management software company, raised $2.7 million, led by Armory Square Ventures.
Performance Management and Evaluation
In the employee assessment and talent analytics area, Perceptyx, an employee survey and people analytics platform, received an investment from growth equity firm TCV in August. The following month, talent data tech company Plum raised $4.2 million in seed funding led by Real Ventures, bringing its total funding to $6.1 million.
Performance management and HR management platforms also saw significant funding this quarter:
- Clear Review closed a £2.6 million ($3.37 million) Series A investment round led by AlbionVC.
- Employment Hero closed a $22 million funding round led by SEEK, an online jobs portal.
- 15Five closed a $30.7 million Series B funding round led by venture firm Next47, bringing its total funding to $42.6 million.
- In the restaurant industry, Toast acquired StratEx.
- Monday.com closed a $150 million Series D funding round led by Sapphire Ventures, bringing its total funding to $234.1 million.
- Fuel50 raised $14 million in Series B funding led by PeakSpan Capital for its career pathing platform.
- Nudge Rewards closed a $9.3 million growth round led by Jump Capital.
- Culture Amp raised $82 million in Series E funding, led by Sequoia Capital China. This round brought its total funding to over $158 million.
- Augeo acquired MotivAction, combining two employee engagement platforms.
- Insala announced a growth investment from Mark Hamdan, founder of HRsmart.
- Darwinbox closed a $15 million Series B funding round led by multiple investors.
This quarter, HR outsourcing company CoAdvantage also announced its acquisition by Aquiline Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
Sales Training and Enablement
Sales enablement, the content, processes, training and systems that support salespeople, is still a popular segment of the market, as seen in the acquisitions and funding from this quarter. In July:
- GetAccept closed a $7 million Series A funding round led by DN Capital for its platform.
- Ciara, a virtual assistant for inside sales reps, launched after a “seven-digit seed funding round in Germany.”
- MindTickle announced a $40 million Series C funding round for its sales readiness platform. The funding, led by Norwest Venture Partners, brought its total funding to over $81 million.
- Vymo closed $18 million in Series B funding from Emergence Capital for its mobile sales assistant.
Also this quarter, SV Academy, which trains people for tech sales roles, announced a $9.5 million Series A funding round led by Owl Ventures, and VoiceOps raised $9 million, led by Bain Capital Ventures, for its sales coaching and training platform. Finally, Mediafly, which provides sales enablement technology and content management and advisory services, acquired iPresent, a sales enablement company.