- Customer education startup Skilljar just raised a $33 million Series B round of funding to fuel its growth and keep up with accelerating demand during the pandemic.
- The round was led by Insight Partners, whose partner Jonathan Rosenbaum will join Skilljar’s board, with participation from existing investors Mayfield, Trilogy Equity Partners, and Shasta Ventures.
- The new funding will help it keep up with its skyrocketing demand: Skilljar’s revenue in the second quarter was 229% higher than the year prior.
- The firm wants to invest in hiring as well as its go-to-market strategy, CEO Sandi Lin said.
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With the coronavirus pandemic dragging on, companies are having to completely rethink how they interact with their customers, including how to conduct training for their software and tools.
Seattle startup Skilljar, which offers digital customer education, just raised a $33 million Series B round of funding to fuel its growth and keep up with accelerating demand. The round was led by Insight Partners, whose partner Jonathan Rosenbaum will join Skilljar’s board, with participation from existing investors Mayfield, Trilogy Equity Partners, and Shasta Ventures. Its valuation prior to the Series B was $46 million, but the firm declined to share its update value.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Skilljar started seeing a huge spike in demand. In April and May, customers were doing five times the amount of virtual training than normal to accommodate what previously was done in person. The company’s revenue in its second quarter was 229% higher than it was last year and the number of training hours on Skilljar’s platform increased nearly 300% total.
Skilljar CEO and cofounder Sandi Lin said that the intense growth prompted her to raise a new funding round.
“We didn’t have to raise money by any means,” Lin told Business Insider, “But there’s so much opportunity right now, and so much ability for us to make an impact by doing everything faster, investing in go-to-market, and extending our product lead.”
Skilljar provides templates for businesses to build online training programs for their customers, including webinar-style courses, quizzes, and live video training in a self-contained website. It also integrates with Zoom, Webex, Salesforce, Box, and other tools that businesses use. It currently counts firms like Tableau, Qualtrics, Zuora, Zendesk, U-Haul, Verizon, and Cisco among its customers.
New investor and board member Rosenbaum said he sees a “massive” “multi-billion dollar” addressable market for Skilljar. It can help companies reduce the level of customer support needed while also increasing retention rates, he said, both of which are especially essential to businesses right now.
“Customer enablement is so important: You’ve sold someone a product or service, now how do you enable their success with that product or service?” Rosenbaum said. “Customer training and education — making sure they really know how to make use of all of your product and services — is fundamental for any company to maintain a happy customer base.”
Skilljar’s new funding will primarily be used to grow the company as it adjusts to its new level of demand.
Right now it has about 100 employees and it’s planning to increase that to around 150 by the end of the year. It’s also embracing these remote work times: The company’s office lease in Seattle expired in August and its not looking for a new one, Lin said. Some employees have already moved outside of a commutable distance from its former downtown Seattle office — including its VP of finance who moved to Oregon — and Lin doesn’t expect to have its new hires clustered in Seattle.
“We’re looking to hire and grow and accelerate into this opportunity that’s in front of us and we want to find the best talent wherever we can,” Lin said “Seattle is a great town to build a company in, but there’s a lot of other areas even in the US, with great pools of talent.”
Right now she’s not sure if another shared office space is in Skilljar’s future, but she has seen that many employees prefer the flexibility of remote work.
Beyond growing the company, Lin also wants Skilljar to attract different types of customers beyond software companies, which form the majority of its customer base right now. It’s starting to attract some hardware and financial services companies too, though. For example, Alarm.com uses Skilljar to train its technicians and installers, and Liberty Mutual has begun using the platform, too.
“We just think there’s so much opportunity to continue to move towards larger companies,” Lin said, “While serving our core mid-sized companies very well.”