Pluralsight, an online training platform for IT professionals, has just raised $US135 million in its second round of funding, putting the company’s total valuation at close to $US1 billion.
Today’s round was led by current investor Insight Venture Partners, with additional funding from ICONIQ Capital and Sorenson Capital. Pluralsight has raised a total of $US165 million so far.
Currently, it has over 3,000 courses available, which translates to nearly 9,900 hours of content. It has 600 expert instructors, generally considered thought leaders in their respective fields, producing the content. And just about 750,000 people have used its platform from over 150 countries so far.
More than 6,000 companies are now using Pluralsight’s service, including some big tech companies, like Microsoft, Dell, and Intel. Some non-tech companies, like Disney, Bank of America, and Thomson Reuters, are also clients.
Aaron Skonnard, the company’s cofounder and CEO, told Business Insider that Pluralsight expects between $US85 million and $US100 million in revenue this year. The company is clearly on a “hockey stick” growth trajectory, as its revenue has jumped from just $US5 million in 2011, to $US16 million and $US38 million in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
“Our valuation back in December 2012 was less than $US100 million. And now we’ve grown 10 times in that period of time,” Skonnard told us.
Keeping Up With Demand
Skonnard says the rapidly changing IT environment is one of the biggest reasons for Pluralsight’s massive growth. The technology landscape is constantly evolving, and companies have to keep up with these fast-changing environments to stay ahead of the game, he says.
“Companies are always playing this cat and mouse game of trying to keep up with new technology and develop those skill sets to keep them relevant,” Skonnard says.
In fact, Pluralsight is releasing 100 new courses every month just to keep up with all the changes.
“Our strategy is to give these enterprises and individuals all the tools they need to keep up with the fast-changing pace of these technology. It’s not just the tech companies, but most companies use technology in such a significant way, that we’re filling their needs,” Skonnard says.
Business Is Booming
Another big reason is the booming e-learning industry as a whole.
Research firm Global Industry Analysts predicts the online education market will be worth $US107 billion by 2015.
Led by the disruption that’s happening in this market, most notably by the massive open online course (MOOC) companies like Coursera and Khan Academy, Pluralsight has been seeing triple-digit growth over the past four years, Skonnard says.
With the new funding, Skonnard plans to really beef up Pluralsight’s current product line with more content geared toward the enterprise. Currently, about two-thirds of its customers come from the enterprise, and Skonnard intends to keep his long-term focus on the B2B market.
He also plans to buy more companies, as he spent over $US70 million in acquisitions of other online learning companies last year to fuel the growth.
“It wasn’t until late 2010 that the pendulum started to swing in our direction, and we’ve been feeling this momentum growing and growing since then,” Skonnard told us.
“Everyone’s starting to realise that this unlocks so much potential and there’s such significant cost savings that they’re asking, ‘How can you not do this?'”
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