It was in 2017 that I covered the emergence and first funding of Learnerbly, a SaaS marketplace for professional development. Quite a lot has happened since then, not the least of which was the COVID-19 pandemic, which has meant pretty much meant all kinds of learning had to transition to virtual, including inside corporates.
The U.K. startup has now secured a $10 million Series A funding round led by Beringea. Also participating were new investors Digital Horizon Ventures, BY Venture Partners, GO Ventures and FJ Labs. This was alongside existing investors Frontline Ventures, Triple Point, London Co-Investment Fund and UFI Ventures.
Learnerbly has also secured some angel investors including Zach Coelius (Coelius Capital), Leonard Picardo (second employee at Deliveroo), Neil Ryland (CRO of Peakon), Renaud Visage (co-founder and CTO of Eventbrite) and Stephan Thoma (former Global Head of Learning at Google). So far it has secured clients including Hellofresh, King, WeTransfer, Curve, Busuu and GoCardless.
Learnerbly’s online marketplace offers access to books, podcasts, conferences, courses, coaching and more from over 250 providers including Blinkist, Masterclass, Pluralsight and General Assembly and is aimed at engineers, marketers, finance and sales etc.
Founder Rajeeb Dey MBE was previously best known for scaling Enternships — a portal connecting students and graduates with work placements in startups and fast-growth businesses.
With the rise of the “Great Resignation” and employers globally concerned about how they retain, as well as attract top talent in an increasingly competitive market the focus on learning and development has never been greater. Businesses are struggling to navigate the new normal of hybrid and remote working and facilitating the personal and professional growth of employees has become even trickier.
Maria Wagner, investment director at Beringea, commented: “With the hybrid work environment, employers are under pressure to offer new ways of learning for their employees and ensure they are engaged and retained … Learnerbly offers a curated solution that serves both the needs of the employees and of HR departments in this new environment.”
The best-known players in this field are the likes of Workday Learning, Cornerstone or a newer player like 360Learning, which raised $200 million. Others include Degreed and Edcast. While most are focused on the large enterprise market, Learnerbly is aimed at scaleups and midmarket companies (employees up to 2,000 people.)
Dey told me that Learnerbly is particularly aimed at companies with “overstretched people teams and limited in-house L&D expertise/support.” Hence why it’s aimed at tech startups a lot of the time.