Online learning startups are aplenty right now — from heavily-funded U.S-based MOOCS, such as Coursera and Udacity, to more thrifty European players like Iversity and Eliademy — there’s no doubt the edtech space is heating up. Now another startup is throwing its learning wares into the virtual classroom.
Australia’s Looop provides a mobile-friendly platform to enable small-to-medium sized business to deliver training online. Today, the company is disclosing a $2 million seed round from an undisclosed education investor, specifically raised to fuel expansion into the UK, as well as add a native iOS app to its newly-launched app for devices running Android. Looop also plans to make its first forage into the U.S. market, perhaps as soon as next month.
Pitching itself as an easy way to get new or existing company training/learning materials online, in addition to offering tools for tracking and assessment, all in a mobile-friendly format, Looop’s ultimate aim is to disrupt a stale corporate online learning market that relies on outdated desktop software that doesn’t always play well with mobile devices and/or the cloud.
In addition, similar to consumer-focused Coursmos, the company is tapping into the notion of ‘lean’ or ‘micro-learning’; the idea being to offer learning in bite-sized chunks, with easily tested learning outcomes. The kind of learning content that is perfectly suited to on-the-go consumption.
On that note, when asked about existing competitors, Looop co-founder, Ben Muzzell, says: “I genuinely don’t feel there are any other businesses directly competing with us in the same respect and this is because they haven’t been able to convert their training programs to mobile devices effectively, as of yet.”
He lists two mains reasons why that hasn’t tended to have happened as the need to wait for technology to catch up and a reluctance by the online learning industry to adopt “cloud technology, thereby slowing down progression in this space.”
In contrast, Muzzell doesn’t see MOOCs as a direct competitor (though I’d point to enterprise MOOCs being a next logical step, such as the white-labeling work being done by Eliademy). “MOOCs don’t fit into specific business objectives. They are also often directed towards students’ learning requirements rather than business learning needs, so we don’t view them as a direct competitor in that sense,” he says.