Developing a Learning Culture

eLearning: The Role of Venture Capitalism

Who’s Who in Venture Capitalism and eLearning

With everyone from Forbes to trends forecaster Gerald Celente beating the drums on the need for an educational renaissance, it’s a natural for venture capitalism and eLearning to intersect. Who are the VC players and what do the companies in which they invest bring to the table?

Venture Capitalism and eLearning Go Global

The Economic Times reported that in August 2012, SBI Ven Capital, one of the largest VCs in Japan, invested 3 million USD in Liqvid. Based in India, Liqvid specializes in English language learning software. In 2014, they’re looking for an additional 10 million USD in venture capital for their flagship EnglishEdge software program in hopes of expanding into the global marketplace. Matrix Partners India and Nexus Venture have been mentioned as possible investors.

Venture Capitalism and eLearning Take On Compliance Training

In January 2014, Reuters reported that OpenSesame, “the world’s largest source of online courses dedicated to employee, compliance, and business training,” raised $8 million in Series A funding from Partech Ventures. OpenSesame courses are delivered via email, browser or a learning management system. Nicolas El Baze, General Partner at Partech, says, “We feel OpenSesame is well positioned to fill the gap that currently exists in the corporate training space—quick access to quality courses.”

Blackberry saved by eLearning and Venture Capitalism?

Well, not quite, but it did help the company through a lean time. In late 2012, New Enterprise Associates Inc., and Omers Ventures invested $80 million in Desire2Learn Inc., the eLearning arm of Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry smartphone, according to Bloomberg. At the time, Blackberry’s sales were off, and they were able to channel some of their personnel into eLearning. RIM/Desire2Learn proves that what seems an unlikely alliance today could turn into tomorrow’s dream partnership between a startup and an angel of an investor.