The summer has come to an end, and as children and young adults everywhere return to school, let’s look at the trends in mergers, acquisitions and funding for training companies over this last quarter.
Compliance – both health and safety and financial and legal – saw a lot of momentum this quarter. In July, Mimecast, an email and data security company, expanded into cybersecurity training and awareness with its acquisition of Ataata, and investment firm BC Partners acquired NAVEX Global, a governance, risk management and compliance software company. Worklete raised a $6.5 million Series A funding round for its digital health platform, whose goal is to reduce workplace injuries; KPA, an environmental health and safety risk management company, received a majority investment from Providence Equity Partners; and Learning Technologies Group (LTG) announced that the compliance and diversity division of its new company PeopleFluent will spin off into its own company, Affirmity, in November.
Finance and Health Care
Speaking of compliance, finance and health care – two highly regulated industries with significant training needs – also had several deals this quarter. TiER1 Performance Solutions acquired Compass Clinical Consulting, a health care consulting firm that provides performance improvement, compliance and health care leadership services. Everyday Health Group, a patient and provider education company, acquired Prime Education, a medical education and outcomes research company. OnCourse Learning, a regulatory and compliance training company for financial services, health care and real estate, acquired Total Training Solutions, which provides webinars for banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders. Then, Bertelsmann acquired OnCourse Learning, which became part of Relias. TwentyEighty sold Omega Performance, a bank training company, to Moody’s Corporation. CeriFi, a training and certification provider for the financial services market, acquired Pass Perfect, a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) licensing exam training company.
Adaptive learning continues to pick up speed across the training industry. Follett acquired Fishtree, an adaptive learning provider for schools, universities and companies, and VitalSource acquired Acrobatiq, Inc., an adaptive learning company currently working in K-12 education. And Volley.com, whose AI provides personalized content recommendations for learning and knowledge management platforms, received a strategic investment from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Measuring and Managing Performance
A variety of tools that help companies manage the talent life cycle and measure performance saw M&A activity this quarter. The Predictive Index (PI), a workplace assessment platform, acquired Predictive Synergistic Systems, a management consulting firm and PI reseller. Explorance, a learning analytics company, entered a definitive agreement to acquire Metrics That Matter, an L&D data and analytics company, from Gartner, Inc.
For companies looking for human capital management (HCM) and performance management software, there was a lot to pay attention to this quarter, as well. Ultimate Software (a cloud-based HCM solution provider) announced a letter of intent to acquire PeopleDoc (an HR solution provider) for $300 million. Talent management companies Namely and ClearCompany raised $60 million each, and ThinkHR announced an investment of $67.5 million for its HCM solution. Impraise, which supports performance conversations and feedback, raised $10.6 million in Series A funding. Finally, LTG merged NetDimensions into PeopleFluent, which it acquired in June, combining the learning technology business of NetDimensions with the talent acquisition and talent management business of PeopleFluent.
Engaging Employee Experiences
A variety of companies dedicated to employee engagement and the employee experience received funding this quarter. Emplify, a SaaS employee engagement platform, closed a $7.5 million Series A investment, and meQuilibrium, which focuses on employee resilience, raised $7 million in Series C funding. Guild Education, which helps companies develop education as a benefit solutions, closed a $40 million Series C round, and Salary Finance, a financial well-being platform, completed a $20 million Series B round. Reward Gateway, which focuses on employee benefits, well-being and communications, acquired employee engagement platform and consulting company Brand Integrity. Limeaid, an employee well-being company, acquired Sitrion, an employee experience and communication solution.
Sales Training and Enablement
August was Sales Enablement Month, but the sales training and enablement deals this quarter happened in September. Marlin Equity Partners acquired CEB Challenger and Effortless Experience Solutions. This business, previously part of Gartner, offers a suite of professional skills development solutions and sales and marketing methodologies. Xactly, a cloud-based sales performance management software company, acquired OpsPanda, an AI-based sales planning application, and sales enablement platform provider Highspot closed a $35 million Series C funding round.
Training Frontline Workers
Frontline worker training received a boost this quarter. Cell-Ed raised a $1.5 million seed round for its mobile learning solution for low-skilled workers. Intertek Group, a quality assurance provider, acquired Alchemy Systems, a training and communications provider for the food and retail industries. Mobile learning is a particularly good solution for frontline workers, who don’t spend much time at a desk.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Last year, we reported on the promise of augmented reality (AR) as a performance support tool and the new venture funding Apprentice received for its AR platform, Affinity. This quarter, Apprentice closed a Series A round of $8 million. Vantage Point, another new company, announced a $1.3 million seed funding round for its platform, which uses virtual reality for training programs such as anti-sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion programs.
What predictions do you have for the final quarter of 2018? Let us know by tweeting us @TrainingIndustr!