Greek-cypriot LearnWorlds raises 32 million dollars from Insight Partners
While the COVID-19 pandemic changed, almost overnight, the way the company works, communicates, consumes, socializes and learns, in reality it may have catalyzed and accelerated trends that were already underway. E-commerce, remote working, remote learning, escaping 9-to-5 and the rise of the creator economy were already major themes.
Especially in the field of e-learning, COVID-19 forced individuals, entrepreneurs and companies to accelerate their digital transformation and proved irrevocably that the future of learning is online. Educators and creators alike are constantly trying to find new ways to monetize their skills, knowledge and audiences, evolving into Edupreneurs, who in some cases earn millions of dollars through selling courses, webinars and other info-products. At the same time, businesses are vying to generate new revenue sources, stay on-brand and keep their customers close. And one thing that the company re-learned during the pandemic is that education can be the most effective form of marketing.
In that context, LearnWorlds, the “Shopify for online courses”, has become a shining example of success with its no-code, white-label, all-in-one platform for educators to create, host, market and sell highly interactive and engaging online courses.
Capitalizing on an explosive 3x+ growth during the past year,the company announces a $32 million minority investment by global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners.
The company plans to use the funding to scale up across a variety of different areas, mainly by advancing its product roadmap and boosting customer success efforts. But also accelerating marketing and sales focused on SMBs on a global scale.
The company expects that it will more than double its staff from 80 to 170 full-time employees in the next year, expanding the team internationally, beyond its current headquarters in Greece and Cyprus. They have been working primarily remotely, which allowed the company to create an exceptionally talented team despite the challenges of the pandemic.
It’s been quite a journey for the LearnWorlds team since it incorporated back in 2014, after first spending a couple of years in stealth mode, designing and refining their platform. The three co-founders, George Palaigeorgiou, Fanis Despotakis, and Panos Siozos met more than 20 years ago at a regional Greek university, where they studied computer science before embarking on post-graduate studies in educational technology. Panos, the CEO, holds a PhD in edtech and George, the CPO is an award-winning academic in edtech, making LearnWorlds the only online course platform with solid research-based roots and a data-driven, evidence-based approach.
With a strong academic background but almost zero go-to-market experience, the business initially took some time to take off. Following several years of successful bootstrapping and organic growth, the company did a seed round of $1.2M with Marathon Venture Capital less than two years ago. For this next step in its evolution, by pairing its top platform with Insight’s industry-leading scale-up experience, it aims to become the world-leading online course platform, benefiting from the rise of online education and the creator economy.
LearnWorlds already counts over 4,400 customers in more than 120 countries, including solo “edupreneurs”, SMBs, and large training corporate sellers of online educational courses, as well as startups and corporations that provide online training for their customers and employees. 2020 has been a breakout year but this demand has continued throughout 2021. The US accounts for more than 40% of business, while also going strong in the European home turf, which accounts for 30% of business.
In a sea of online course platforms, LearnWorlds stands out with its overall user-friendliness, exceptional content authoring, the powerful website builder, extreme customizability and obsessive customer support, which make LearnWorlds a beloved tool for educators, designers, and developers alike. With just a few clicks, trainers with zero design and coding experience can create a full-fledged e-learning website, upload their content and start selling in a matter of hours. No wonder why LearnWorlds enjoys a diehard user base and raving reviews on platforms like Capterra and G2 Crowd.
Panos Siozos, co-founder and CEO of LearnWorlds, said: “We set out to create the best and most accessible course creation platform for educators who are as passionate about teaching as we are. We democratized direct-to-consumer e-learning, by making it possible for everyone to launch their own Lynda, Masterclass or Coursera, out of their own living rooms, and to profit from their skills and content.
While the full potential of e-learning has always been five years into the future, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend. Now, more than ever before, educators and businesses need tools that will help them re-train and re-skill people in a mobile, distributed, flexible, enjoyable, but also cost-effective and efficient way. And LearnWorlds is the tool that makes this happen.
In a world where everything, including content, tends to be commoditized, LearnWorlds can help trainers create premium, interactive, branded learning experiences, ensuring audience engagement and learner success. With an unvented core Total Addressable Market north of seven billion dollars in the SMB space alone, and many times that in general, the future for LearnWorlds looks bright.”
Insight Partners, one of the world’s largest venture capital and private equity firms, is known for working closely with growth-stage companies, contributing unmatched expertise and business strategy and helping them scale up their operations. Insight Onsite, its ScaleUp engine, is designed to help portfolio companies by providing a range of services in key business areas, like recruitment, marketing, and product development. Insight has backed the likes of Twitter, Shopify and Pluralsight, with current portfolio companies including Udemy, Skilljar, Epignosis, and Monday.com.
Nikitas Koutoupes, managing partner at Insight, and Boris Treskunov, Principal, will be joining the board, giving the company access to solid operator experience to help guide them into the next phase.
“Over the last year, we have seen technology and online education platforms reshape the future of learning as individuals look to develop additional competencies and companies intend to re-skill their employees,” said Nikitas Koutoupes, Managing Director at Insight Partners. “LearnWorlds represents the ideal cloud-based LMS to create premium, interactive, and branded learning experiences that quantifiably impact learning outcomes. At Insight, we invest in world-class teams who are creating market leading tech-driven products, so we are thrilled to partner with Panos and team to help them accelerate their already impressive growth.”
Panos Papadopoulos from Marathon VC said in a statement: “We are excited about the next chapter of LearnWorlds as they have become a prime tool for the creator economy. Besides a top-notch product, Panos, Fanis, and George have built a unique company culture and we look forward to building an iconic company with our new partners at Insight Partners.”