Articulate enterprise e-learning creation platform raises $ 1.5 billion

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Articulate, a software as a service (SaaS) platform that companies like Amazon, Oracle and Morgan Stanley use to create training courses for employees, today announced it has raised $ 1.5 billion in one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Series A has ever filmed. The company is now valued at $ 3.75 billion.

Founded in 2002, New York-based Articulate claims to serve 106,000 businesses, including the entire Fortune 100. Its primary applications include Articulate 360 ​​for creating training courses, which businesses can export to the web or host on their own learning management system (LMS). . This includes millions of assets like models, photos, and videos, with additional tools that support live and on-demand training. And then there’s an all-in-one product called Rise, which not only includes tools for designing new courses, but also for enrolling learners and tracking their progress, which might be better suited for small businesses without their own. LMS.

“You can think of Articulate as the Squarespace for online training, except instead of talking about websites, you’re talking about online training,” Articulate founder and CEO Adam Schwartz told VentureBeat.

Above: articulating online training courses

So why might a typical business use Articulate? If he has a new product to sell, they must first train their various departments to sell, support and promote it. They need to know the product, which requires training.

“You would use the Articulate apps to create online training courses for these audiences who walk through their products, highlight features, incorporate quizzes and knowledge checks to make sure they understand the message and the sets of features, ”said Schwartz. “These courses include interactivity, rich media, and different ways of presenting content to be interesting, engaging and effective.”

In addition to this, companies can access reports and analysis on how the workforce engages in the various training courses, including completion rates.

Above: Articulate: reports and analyzes

Remote control

Articulate has been fully bootstrap since its inception almost two decades ago. Its decision to raise $ 1.5 billion now is indicative of the size of the market in which it operates, particularly with companies across the spectrum embracing “everything remotely”. Additionally, the corporate e-learning market was valued at $ 205 billion in 2020, according to some reports, a figure that is expected to more than double within seven years.

“Every company needs to train its employees, every function has its own training needs and the organization as a whole has training needs regarding employee onboarding, compliance and employee engagement,” said the president of ‘Articulate, Lucy Suros. “Many companies have historically delivered this training in a very scalable, instructor-led way – someone standing in front of the room to make a presentation. “

Articulate allows companies to take all of this training online, no matter where the worker is, which today could be found anywhere in an increasingly distributed workforce.

Schwartz highlighted several “macro trends” that are driving demand for Articulate products, including the rise of remote working, which has been “deeply accelerated by Covid”. And then there’s what he called “corporate consumerization,” where employees have become conditioned to great user experiences (UX) in the apps they use in their own lives, such as Netflix. and Facebook. “They expect some UX from software, and they bring those expectations to the workplace,” Schwartz said.

Another trend highlighted by Schwartz was the “democratization of training,” which essentially means that companies are increasingly open to workers from all disciplines who become teachers in the workplace. “Articulate makes it easy to turn content consumers (learners) into content creators (educators) the same way YouTube does,” Schwartz explained.

So an amalgamation of factors led to Articulate’s first fundraiser, with notable backers including private equity firm General Atlantic, Blackstone Growth, and Iconiq Growth. While an additional $ 1.5 billion in the bank obviously gives Articulate a lot of financial strength, Schwartz pointed out another key motivator in fundraising now. “We wanted to bring great growth partners to the table to lend their first-rate expertise and resources… the round was less about capital and a lot more about partnership,” he said.

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