Each quarter, TrainingIndustry.com provides a comprehensive round-up of the mergers, acquisitions and investments that took place in the corporate training market.
With the fourth quarter upon us and the end of the year quickly approaching, let’s reflect on the deals that took place last quarter, many of which represent broader market trends and innovations that we expect to continue next quarter and beyond.
Digital Skills Development
Last quarter’s market activity proved that technical skills like data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and cloud computing remain in high-demand. This makes sense: As companies continue to embrace remote and hybrid work post-pandemic, digital skill sets are a must for making virtual work, work.
Q3 deals in digital skills development, which falls under the information technology (IT) and technical training segment of the market, included the following:
- QA, a leading technology skills provider in the U.K. with a growing U.S. presence, acquired Circus Street, a global leader in digital skills training on topics such as data analytics and e-commerce.
- Blackstone acquired a majority stake in Simplilearn Solutions, Pvt. Ltd., an online digital skills training bootcamp.
- Pathstream, a digital skills education provider, secured an investment from leading investors including Citi, Strada Education Network and New Markets Venture partners, with participation from existing investors.
- The India-based ed-tech platform Edureka, which offers courses on topics like DevOps, AI and ML, and cybersecurity, was acquired by Verdana for $33.2 million.
- Product School, a product management training provider, secured a $25 million investment from Leeds Illuminate, subject to regulatory approval.
The learning technologies segment of the corporate training market is always bustling with activity, and Q3 proved no different.
From interactive training simulations to new features and integrations in learning management systems (LMSs) and experience platforms (LXPs), here are the learning tech deals we took note of last quarter:
- Fuse Universal, a learning and knowledge platform, announced the acquisition of PowerGuides, a performance support platform, as well as a strategic partnership with PureInsights, a knowledge search provider, to support the company’s new Knowledge Intelligence Engine.
- MURAL, a provider of digital workspaces for guided enterprise-wide collaboration, closed a $50 million Series C funding round. Following the company’s $118 million Series B funding round in August 2020, the company is currently valued at over $2 billion.
- Leading digital adoption solutions provider Whatfix acquired Nittio Learn, a LMS, positioning Whatfix as a comprehensive digital adoption platform for organizations.
- Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., a leader in talent management software, entered in a definitive agreement to be acquired by Clearlake Capital Group (Clearlake). Under the agreement, Clearlake will acquire the outstanding shares of Cornerstone through common stock for $57.50 per share in cash.
- Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a global provider of subscription-based products and services, acquired learning solutions provider WBT Systems. With the acquisition, TopClass LMS (WBT System’s flagship platform), will join ASI’s suite of products and services.
- GingrTech, a serious games specialist and developer of ROCKET, a business simulation game, announced a “significant investment” from Spence & Co. to support the development of soon-to-be-released simulation games.
- Docebo, a leading learning management platform, raised $100.8 million in a post-IPO equity round.
- Stukent, a digital courseware and training simulations provider, announced a strategic investment from Tritum Partners.
Among learning tech providers that offer learning solutions for frontline workers:
- YOOBIC, a mobile learning and communications platform for frontline teams, closed a $50 million Series C funding round led by Highland Europe, with participation from existing investors.
- WorkJam, a digital workplace for companies with frontline employees, announced a $35 million funding round from Silver Lake Waterman.
- Valamis, a leader in digital learning technologies and workforce development, announced the acquisition of The Working Manager, a leader in organizational performance and career mobility technologies.
Although Training Industry research found that spending on leadership training decreased by 37% in 2020, it is expected to increase by 15% by the end of 2021 and by 12.5% in 2022, as companies regain their footing (and stabilize financially) post-pandemic.
Here are the deals we saw in the leadership segment of the market last quarter:
- Skillsoft Corp., a global leader in corporate digital learning, enhanced its leadership development portfolio by acquiring Pluma, Inc., a digital professional development and executive coaching platform, for approximately $22 million.
- Udemy, a leader in eLearning, acquired CorpU, an online leadership development platform.
- BetterUp, a virtual leadership coaching platform, acquired two technology software companies, Motive and Impraise.
Content development was the only segment of the corporate training market that saw an increase in spending over the past year. It also made up the majority of generated revenue among outsourcing providers, according to Training Industry’s recently released report, “The State of the Learning Services Market.”
Last quarter, deals in this popular segment of the market included:
- LearnWorlds, a platform for creating and selling online courses, secured a $32 million minority investment from Insight Partners.
- Tiled, an interactive content development platform, closed a $13.7 million Series A funding round.
- Anthology, a higher education solutions provider, merged with Blackboard, a global ed-tech software and solutions company. The combined company is set to accelerate the learner experience in both corporate and academic settings.
Other Deals by Market Segment
- Mindtickle, a leader in sales readiness technology, raised an additional $100 million in Series E funding lead by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
- Sentinel Capital Partners announced the sale of Corporate Visions Inc., a leading sales and marketing enablement company in the U.S., to the Riverside Company.
- Seismic, a global leader in sales enablement, acquired Lessonly, a training, coaching and enablement solution.
- Go1, which provides curated online learning content and tools to companies through “playlists” that tap content from multiple publishers, closed a $200 million series D funding round. The company is now valued at over $1 billion, its chief executive officer and co-founder confirmed in the press release.
- Global eLearning innovator OpenSesame announced a $50 million investment led by JMI Equity, with participation from existing investors.
- upGrad, Asia’s higher education ed-tech leader, acquired KnowledgeHut, a global ed-tech company.
- Tango, a leading workflow intelligence platform that accelerates documentation, raised $5.7 million in seed funding.
- GrowthSpace, a leader in personalized talent development, secured a $15 million series A investment round led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, and Vertex Ventures.
Measurement and Analytics
- Eagle Point Software Corporation acquired KnowledgeSmart Ltd., a company that delivers skills gap analysis and benchmarking services.
- Degreed, a workforce upskilling platform, announced a strategic partnership with Visier, a leader in people analytics and planning. Visier’s analytics engine will be embedded in a new, optional offering inside Degreed’s LXP, which is set for general availability later this year.
Professional Development and Coaching
- Woman-owned tech start-up CharismaQ, a coaching and communications platform, announced a $1 million seed funding round led by West Bend Mutual Insurance.
- Bravely, an on-demand professional coaching platform, announced a $15 million funding round led by Telescope Partners.
- CoachHub, a leading digital coaching platform, raised $80 million in Series B2 funding.
- Limeade, an immersive employee well-being company, acquired TINYpulse, a leader in employee listening software.
What are your thoughts on the training market activity we saw last quarter? Let us know!