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Ed Tech: Corporate Learning

Modern tools to train and motivate staff, and bridge emerging skill gaps.

Overview

Educational technology (EdTech) refers to the management of teaching and learning materials and processes using technological tools and applications. The terms online learning, virtual learning, and e-learning are often interchangeable with EdTech.

Reliance on EdTech for enterprise-level workforce training is increasing, as organizations seek to onboard new employees, retain and motivate staff, and bridge skill gaps with limited learning and development (L&D) resources. Many specialized jobs also require continuing education and accreditation which can be supported by EdTech tools and services. 

The modern workforce’s drive to learn new skills and take on new challenges have also influenced the adoption of EdTech with e-learning now representing 21%-40% of the median organization’s learning portfolio in contrast with 1%-20% five years ago.

What's driving this industry?
Market Sizing

The US educational technology corporate learning market could reach USD 12.8-20.2 billion by 2025

Conservative case

USD 12.8 Bn

Base case

USD 16.2 Bn

Expansion case

USD 20.2 Bn

USD billion0510152025202020212022202320242025
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COVID-19 IMPACT

In-person training programs are migrating to virtual formats as companies rethink their learning strategies

  • Cornerstone OnDemand reported that 50% of HR departments at client organizations moved their instructor-led, in-person training to a virtual, online format. One client, a large global e-tailer who shifted to a 100% remote workforce, is transitioning from instructor-led training to online training with content from social platforms and Cornerstone.

  • The number of academic and professional learners using BenchPrep reached nearly seven million in December 2020, with new customers growing 3x year-over-year (YoY), and the number of organizations using the platform growing by 55% YoY. 

New training needs have emerged

  • During March 2020 and April 2020, Skillsoft witnessed substantial growth in course completions across several topics including “Developing Emotional Intelligence”, “Exploring Virtual Collaboration”, and “Facing Virtual Team Challenges”.

  • Between March 2020 and December 2020, Coursera reported more than 69 million enrollments, an increase of about 430% YoY. The two most popular courses were “The Science of Well-Being” (more than 2.5 million enrollments), and “Covid-19 Contact Tracing” (more than one million enrollments).

  • Cornerstone OnDemand reported that HR teams at client organizations had assigned and created more than 1.8 million new courses, of which 11,000 are Covid-19-related, as of April 2020. Further, more than 56,000 Covid-19-related courses had been taken through Cornerstone Cares, a free public learning resource launched in March 2020.

  • Udemy for Business reported an increase in mental health skills course consumption in industries with essential workers such as the government, nonprofit, and healthcare sectors.

Market Mapping

Corporate educational technology (EdTech) products and services can be broadly categorized as content-focused, service-focused or providing a delivery solution.

The EdTech corporate learning market is dominated by incumbents specializing in content, services, delivery solutions or a combination of these factors. Disruptive EdTech startups are mostly early- and growth-stage firms that have attracted investor attention on the strength of high-quality or unique content, efficient delivery methods, affordability or a combination of these factors.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre-Seed
Learning content | Career development
?
Learning content | Supplementary skills
?
Learning technology systems
?
Learning and engagement tool
?
Massive open online course (MOOC) provider
?
Coaching, tutoring, and mentoring
?
Support service
?
Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com
Dictionary.com
Skillsoft
Pearson
Graham Holdings
Cengage
General Assembly
Zovio
Learning Curve Group
FranklinCovey
Salesforce
Berlitz Corporation
Wiley
SAP
Eruditus
BetterUp
Degreed
Guild Education
Cornerstone OnDemand
OpenSesame
ExecOnline
Talent Garden
Softline
eLearning Brothers
EduMe
Codecool
Docebo
MindEdge Learning
Learning Pool
Learning Technologies Group
Connect For Education (C4E)
Upstryve
Multiverse
Area9 Lyceum
Career Karma
Section4
Product School
Interplay Learning
Talespin
Sana Labs
Disprz
Uvaro
Learnerbly
TRANSFR
SV Academy
Growth Tribe
Tovuti
Esme Learning Solutions
Workera.ai
Tigerhall
Sales Impact Academy
Learn To Win
Learn In
Rising Team
edyoucated
StackFuel
Health and Safety Institute
Thrive Global
Immersive Labs
Preply
Voxy
Rethink First
ThriveDX
Speexx
Living Security
Praxis Labs
headversity
Cyber Guru
Curricula
Immersive Factory
Ethena
Vantage Point
Electives
Skillsoft
Salesforce
Adobe
Sigma Resources
SAP
Microsoft
Emyode
Orasi
Articulate
Seismic
Degreed
Cornerstone OnDemand
Go1
360Learning
Whatfix
Blackboard
EdCast
Spekit
Absorb Software
Learnosity
Cypher Learning
eLearning Brothers
The Glimpse Group
Axonify
BenchPrep
Thinkific
StudyTube
Docebo
Learning Pool
Intellum
TalentLMS
Dictionary.com
Learning Technologies Group
Connect For Education (C4E)
eloomi
Skilljar
Area9 Lyceum
Mursion
Trainual
WorkRamp
Qstream
Talespin
Disprz
DeepHow
Tovuti
MobieTrain
Curricula
Cambridge Spark
Auzmor
KloudLearn
Arist
Moth+Flame
NovoEd
Learner Mobile
Squigl
Orasi
LoopUp
Seismic
Kahoot!
SkyHive
The Glimpse Group
Rallyware
Strivr
Mursion
Attensi
Qstream
Talespin
Sana Labs
Immersive VR Education
TRANSFR
Virti
Emmersion
Bites
Moth+Flame
Motive
Pathways Training and eLearning
Mindmarker
LinkedIn Learning (Microsoft)
Pluralsight
Zovio
Penn Foster
Coursera
Udemy
Go1
UpGrad
Platzi
Corporate Finance Institute
Skillsoft
Zovio
BetterUp
Brainstation
CoachHub
Torch Leadership Labs
Growth Space
Hone
GoCoach
Campfire
Pearson
Parchment
Credly
EmPath

The Disruptors

Disruptors in the educational technology (EdTech) corporate learning market cater to the learning needs and styles of the modern workforce using emerging and evolving technology.

Content providers such as Coursera, Degreed and Guild Education focus on offering a wide breadth of high-quality content by partnering with universities to offer their programs to individual learners and corporate workforces. Other startups such as Strivr, TRANSFR, Mursion, and Talespin offer simulation-based learning using virtual reality (VR) technologies. Another approach provides platforms that connect learners with instructors, either on a large scale such as Udemy, or on a one-on-one basis such as Torch Leadership Labs, CoachHub, and Multiverse. Udemy and Coursera are leaders in the corporate client content space with 7,000 and 2,300 organizations using their platforms, respectively.

Delivery solutions providers seek to disrupt the traditional learning management system (LMS) market by hosting user-generated content, and by offering new personalized, gamified, and micro-learning models. Leaders in the delivery solutions space include Blackboard, Cornerstone OnDemand, TalentLMS, Articulate, and Cypher Learning.

Content providers have attracted more funding than service and delivery solution providers as a result of pandemic-driven demand for workforce upskilling and reskilling solutions.

Learning content | Career development

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Softline
Public - Market cap USD 17.0 mn
Learning Technologies Group
Public - Market cap Unknown
Docebo
Public - Market cap Unknown
Cornerstone OnDemand
Public - Market cap Unknown
Eruditus
813
BetterUp
583
Degreed
390
Guild Education
379
Multiverse
194
OpenSesame
97
ExecOnline
88
Talent Garden
74
Area9 Lyceum
53
Career Karma
52
eLearning Brothers
38
Section4
37
EduMe
27
Product School
25
Interplay Learning
25
Workera.ai
21
Talespin
21
Sana Labs
20
Disprz
17
Codecool
16
Uvaro
14
Learnerbly
12
TRANSFR
12
SV Academy
12
MindEdge Learning
0
Learning Pool
Unknown
Connect For Education (C4E)
Unknown
Upstryve
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Esme Learning Solutions
Tigerhall
Growth Tribe
Tovuti
Sales Impact Academy
Learn To Win
Learn In
Rising Team
edyoucated
StackFuel

Learning content | Supplementary skills

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Thrive Global
146
Immersive Labs
123
Preply
51
Voxy
32
Living Security
20
Praxis Labs
19
headversity
13
Rethink First
12
ThriveDX
10
Watchlist
?
Ethena
Speexx
Cyber Guru
Vantage Point
Curricula
Electives
Immersive Factory

Learning technology systems

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Learning Technologies Group
Public - Market cap Unknown
Docebo
Public - Market cap Unknown
Cornerstone OnDemand
Public - Market cap Unknown
Blackboard
Public - Market cap Unknown
Articulate
1500
Seismic
427
Degreed
390
Go1
284
360Learning
243
Whatfix
140
EdCast
107
eloomi
79
Spekit
61
Absorb Software
59
Skilljar
53
Area9 Lyceum
53
Learnosity
52
Cypher Learning
40
eLearning Brothers
38
The Glimpse Group
38
Axonify
35
Mursion
35
Trainual
34
BenchPrep
28
WorkRamp
27
Qstream
22
Thinkific
22
Talespin
21
Disprz
17
StudyTube
13
DeepHow
9
Learning Pool
Unknown
Connect For Education (C4E)
Unknown
NovoEd
Unknown
Intellum
Unknown
TalentLMS
Unknown
Dictionary.com
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Tovuti
MobieTrain
Arist
Curricula
Moth+Flame
Squigl
Cambridge Spark
Auzmor
KloudLearn
Learner Mobile

Learning and engagement tool

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Kahoot!
Public - Market cap Unknown
Seismic
427
Strivr
51
SkyHive
48
The Glimpse Group
38
Mursion
35
Attensi
26
Qstream
22
Talespin
21
Sana Labs
20
Immersive VR Education
16
TRANSFR
12
Virti
12
Pathways Training and eLearning
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Rallyware
Emmersion
Bites
Moth+Flame
Motive
Mindmarker

Massive open online course (MOOC) provider

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Coursera
447
Udemy
311
Go1
284
UpGrad
201
Platzi
78
Corporate Finance Institute
48

Coaching, tutoring, and mentoring

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
BetterUp
583
CoachHub
133
Torch Leadership Labs
48
Growth Space
19
Campfire
3
Brainstation
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Hone
GoCoach

Support service

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Parchment
66
Credly
18
Watchlist
?
EmPath

Softline

UK-listed Softline is a platform that offers IT services and cybersecurity solutions. It has a corporate learning platform (launched in 2004) that has served more than 300,000 IT professionals to date. Moreover, it offers its customers software licensing, products, and solutions from more than 6,000 IT vendors. As of January 2022, the platform had served more than 150,000 corporate clients across 60 countries with regional growth stemming from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa.

The company made a series of acquisitions over 2020–2022. Softline’s most recent acquisition was in January 2022, when it acquired an 85% stake in Moscow-based Academy IT, a corporate training and learning management solution, for an undisclosed sum, allowing it to strengthen its global growth strategy in emerging markets. In addition, the company acquired Embee (an Indian IT consultancy firm); Softline AG (a German IT consulting company); and Aplana Group’s software development outsourcing business. 

For FY2021 ended March 31, 2021, Softline reported a loss per share of 0.02 (compared with an EPS of USD 0.08 in FY2020). Softlines’ revenue rose 11.4% year-over-year (YoY) to USD 1.5 billion, with 53% of total revenue from recurring business. Revenue growth was driven by an increase in three segments: Subscription up 8.8% YoY (28.1% contribution to total revenue), Cloud resale 38.8% YoY (24% contribution to total revenue), and Hardware up 7.1% YoY (13.2% contribution to total revenue). Softline’s gross profit margin, however, dropped 1.4 percentage points YoY to 15%, and adjusted operating profit was USD 52.09 million (compared with USD 45.9 million in FY2020). 

Segment:
Learning content | Career development
Total funding:
USD 50.0 million
Disruptor Funding History

Learning content | Career development:

Softline
Docebo
Cornerstone OnDemand
Eruditus
BetterUp
Degreed
Guild Education
Multiverse
OpenSesame
ExecOnline
Talent Garden
Area9 Lyceum
Career Karma
eLearning Brothers
Section4
EduMe
Product School
Interplay Learning
Workera.ai
Talespin
Sana Labs
Disprz
Codecool
Uvaro
Learnerbly
TRANSFR
SV Academy
MindEdge Learning
Esme Learning Solutions
Tigerhall
Growth Tribe
Tovuti
Sales Impact Academy
Learn To Win
Learn In
Rising Team
edyoucated
StackFuel

Learning content | Supplementary skills:

Thrive Global
Immersive Labs
Preply
Voxy
Living Security
Praxis Labs
headversity
Rethink First
ThriveDX
Ethena
Speexx
Cyber Guru
Vantage Point
Curricula
Electives
Immersive Factory

Learning technology systems:

The Incumbents

Corporate educational technology incumbents bolt on acquisitions to build broad portfolios 

Leading content providers such as Skillsoft, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight maintain extensive reach by catering to both individual learners and corporate clients with a mix of freemium and subscription-based business models. That reach is extended through partnerships with firms in the service and delivery solutions space.

Many of these companies also operate across academic institutions as well as business organizations. Kaplan’s (a business of Graham Holdings) higher education programs, professional training, certifications, test preparation, and student support services are used by academic institutions and businesses, while Pearson’s solutions span PreK-12 education, higher education, and industry and professional education.

Distributors of learning management systems include SAP, Adobe, and Microsoft. These companies have grown their portfolios by expanding—often by way of acquisition—into content and support services such as authoring and communication, as well as human resource functions like recruitment, compensation, and performance evaluation.

Own technology

Acquisition

Partnership

company-logo-0Skillsoft
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company-logo-1LinkedIn Learning (Microsoft)
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company-logo-2Pearson
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company-logo-3Graham Holdings
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company-logo-4Pluralsight
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company-logo-5Cengage
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company-logo-6General Assembly
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company-logo-7Zovio
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company-logo-8Penn Foster
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company-logo-9Learning Curve Group
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company-logo-10FranklinCovey
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company-logo-11Salesforce
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company-logo-12Berlitz Corporation
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company-logo-13Adobe
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company-logo-14Wiley
company-logo-15Sigma Resources
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company-logo-16SAP
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company-logo-17Microsoft
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company-logo-18Emyode
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company-logo-19Orasi
company-logo-20LoopUp
company-logo-21Health and Safety Institute
Skillsoft

Founded in 1998, Skillsoft provides a suite of business learning and development solutions. Its portfolio includes three systems: Skillsoft learning content, the Percipio intelligent learning experience platform, and the SumTotal suite for talent development.

Skillsoft's cloud-based corporate learning content includes courses, videos, books, and other resources on leadership development, business skills, digital transformation, technology and development, and compliance. The Percipio platform helps to accelerate learning through an engaging, user experience-based interface. The SumTotal suite supports the entire employee lifecycle with technology focused on talent acquisition, learning management, and talent management. As of October 2020, the company had more than 45 million users across its platforms, including 70% of Fortune 1000 companies.

In June 2020, the company voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and in August announced that it had emerged from bankruptcy after reducing its debt load. In October 2020, Churchill Capital Corp agreed to merge with Skillsoft. The combined entity then acquired Global Knowledge Training LLC, an IT and professional skills company. The new entity is called Skillsoft and commenced trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in June 2021.

In February 2021, Skillsoft partnered with Accredible, a digital credentialing platform, to issue badges to users of its Percipio intelligent learning experience platform, and to all customers accessing Skillsoft content through an integration with a learning management system or learning experience platform. In June 2021, the company acquired Pluma Inc., a digital professional development and coaching platform. The acquisition marks Skillsoft’s foray into individualized coaching. The company will integrate Pluma into Percipio, deepening its leadership development portfolio. Skillsoft users will gain access to Pluma’s coaches, while Pluma customers will gain access to Skillsoft’s blended learning model and content. The company also integrated Udemy Business’ content into Percipio after entering into a content partnership with the online learning platform in December 2021. Later the same month, Skillsoft acquired Codecademy, an online technical skill-learning platform, for approximately USD 525 million in cash (40%) and stock (60%). The transaction is expected to be completed in H1 2022. The acquisition allows Skillsoft to add Codecademy’s technology and developer (Tech & Dev) skills offerings to its portfolio, and leverage Codecademy’s capabilities in developing new programming languages and technical skills. In January 2022, different law firms announced that they will conduct an investigation into potential breaches and violations of law by Skillsoft relating to its acquisition of Codecademy.

Skillsoft reported a loss per share of USD 0.32 for Q3 2022 ended October 31, 2021. Skillsoft’s GAAP revenue rose 125.4% YoY to USD 171 million due to its consolidation with Churchill Capital Corp and Global Knowledge Training. Skillsoft’s Content and SumTotal segments reported bookings growth of 6.4% and 2.9%, respectively, in Q3 FY2022. Skillsoft’s gross margin grew by 0.7 percentage points YoY to 71.3% and the company reported an operating loss of USD 4.4 million, compared to an operating loss of USD 33.1 million in Q3 FY2021. The company’s full-year revenue guidance for FY2022 stood at USD 685 million–USD 700 million with an adjusted EBITDA of approximately USD 165 million.

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