Most companies don’t advertise their first venture capital investment after nearly 20 years in the business, nor do they advertise that this round is the equivalent of entire private fundraising history. of a good startup. But Articulate, a SaaS training and development platform, is not your typical business and today announced a huge investment of $ 1.5 billion on a valuation of $ 3.75 billion.
You can call it Series A if you have to label it, but anyway, it’s a huge investment in every way. General Atlantic led the round with participation from Blackstone Growth and Iconiq Growth. GA claims this is one of the biggest A-rounds of all time, and I’m willing to bet it’s true.
CEO Adam Schwartz founded the company with his life savings in 2002 and hasn’t taken a dime of outside investment since. “Our software enables organizations to develop, deliver and analyze engaging online training and [interesting] for businesses and SMEs, ”Schwartz explained.
He says the company started in 2002 as a plug-in for PowerPoint. Today it is a software service aimed at helping everyone to provide training, even if they are not a training professional. Articulate actually offers two main products, one is a set of tools for companies that create training that connects to an enterprise learning management system or LMS. The other is aimed at SMEs or the services of a company.
His approach appears to be working with the company claiming to have 106,000 clients in 161 countries, including each of the Fortune 100. Schwartz was reluctant to share additional metrics, but said he hoped to use that money to multiply by 10 over. of the next several years.
Company President Lucy Suros, who has been with the organization for a decade, says that even with this success, they see plenty of growth opportunities and they felt that taking that capital now would really help them step up.
“We’re by far the most dominant player in delivering apps courses, but when you look at this whole ecosystem and think about how businesses transition from instructor-led training to instructor-led training. online training, they are still in their infancy so there are a lot of opportunities, ”she said.
Anton Levy, co-chairman and managing director of General Atlantic, which leads the investment for the company, says it is a “big, bold and amazing company” and that is why they are making an investment of this size. and of this scale. “The reason we are stepping up our efforts so significantly, and what represents such a big check to us, is because of the company they built, the team they built and, frankly. , of the market opportunity they are playing, and their ambition, ”he said.
Today the company has 300 employees and they worked as a remote company long before COVID. With the new capital, that number could triple over the next few years. Suros says that when she started at the company there were 50 employees, most of them male engineers, and she set to work to make it a more diverse work environment.
“We’ve focused and put in a lot of structural things to make sure we’re bringing more [diverse] people at the table and then supporting people once they’re here, ”she said. Along with the new capital, the company announced many new benefits and said these were developed with the idea of helping remove barriers for under-represented groups in their ranks, including covering costs. related to gender transition.
She says one of the perks of becoming more visible as a business is being able to talk about their human-centered organizational framework, all the principles that the company has put in place to define its values. “[We think about] how it can impact employees and boost human development for itself, and it also leads to better business results. But we are also really interested from [the standpoint that] we want to be good and do good in the world and promote human development at work, ”she said.
The business seems to have worked well so far, but with this kind of capital, it aims to take the business to the next level, while trying to be good corporate citizens.