Happy 2019! Each quarter, TrainingIndustry.com rounds up the mergers, acquisitions and investments of the past three months and looks at common themes and topics. In the last quarter of 2018, the market saw activity in learning and performance management technologies, leadership and workforce development, tech training, e-learning, and sales training and enablement, as well as two acquisitions from large, diversified training providers.
Learning and Performance Management Technologies
In October, Saba Software announced the acquisition of Lumesse, which was completed the following month. HT2 Labs acquired Riptide Software’s learning record store product in a deal that would add over $1 million to the combined businesses’ revenue over the next two years, according to the press release. Later this quarter, EY acquired NogginLabs to expand its digital learning business, and Cornerstone OnDemand acquired Grovo for $24 million. LTG acquired the remaining 73 percent of Watershed Systems, Inc., adding corporate learning analytics to its learning and talent management portfolio, and spun off a new brand, VectorVMS, from its 2018 acquisition PeopleFluent.
In virtual and augmented reality, STRIVR raised $16.5 million for its immersive virtual reality training platform, and NexTech AR Solutions acquired edCetra. Together, NexTech and edCetra are delivering e-learning for the cannabis industry.
Also this quarter, PlayerLync, a mobile content platform for training and performance management, raised $12.5 million in growth financing, and 15Five closed an $8.2 million Series A round. Devonshire Investors acquired NovoEd, a cloud-based learning platform, and Visionary Integration Professionals, owner of Meridian Knowledge Solutions, announced an investment from Morgan Stanley Credit Partners. EdCast closed $33.6 million in new funding to grow its “operating system for the knowledge economy,” and knowledge management platform Guru closed a $25 million Series B funding round. Finally, Gamelearn raised $5 million in Series A funding for its serious games business.
Leadership and Workforce Development
Training companies delivering products and services across all levels of the organization saw activity this quarter. In October, the Lumina Foundation, Robin Hood and the Salesforce Impact Fund announced a new alliance with a commitment of an initial $15 million to invest in companies building products and solutions in education and workforce development.
Enboarder, an “engagement onboarding platform,” raised $5 million to help organizations improve their new hire experience, and ExecOnline closed an $18 million Series C funding round for its online leadership certificate programs. DDI launched an innovation fund in October to invest in digital leadership training companies but has not yet made any investments.
Two “schools” for tech-related training, Lambda School (software development education and employer services) and DataCamp (data science and analytics training for individuals and businesses), received investments this quarter. Lambda School closed a $14 million Series A funding round in October, and DataCamp announced a growth investment in December. Also this quarter, Living Security, a gamified security awareness training company, closed a $1.25 million seed round, and QA acquired InfoSec Skills, adding cybersecurity training and accreditations to its product portfolio.
Online training providers were busy this quarter as well. Golden Gate Capital acquired Vector Solutions, a provider of e-learning and SaaS performance support, and BizLibrary announced a growth investment firm Primus Capital. For industry-specific learning, Grace Hill, an online training company for the property management industry, acquired The Strategic Solution, which provides online policy and procedure manuals; Thoma Bravo acquired PEC Safety, a contractor management software and safety learning content company.
Sales Training and Enablement
We continue to see sales enablement as a popular segment in the market. This quarter, mobile sales enablement platform provider Mediafly acquired Alinean, a B2B sales and marketing software and consulting company. Investments ranged from video-based sales enablement and coaching platform Rehearsal’s $2 million funding to enablement platform Seismic’s $100 million Series E funding round. In between were conversation intelligence companies ExecVision’s $5.4 million growth investment and Chorus.ai’s $33 million Series B round. Finally, ValueSelling Associates acquired ValueSelling Framework provider Value Prime Solutions.
The last quarter of 2018 also saw Wiley’s acquisition of Learning House, a provider of diversified learning services that include enterprise solutions, for $200 million, and GP Strategies’ acquisition of TTi Global, which provides training, staffing, research and consulting services to the automotive and other industries.
What trends did you notice last year? What do you predict will happen in the market in 2019? Let us know by tweeting @TrainingIndustr!