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opensesame12OpenSesame, which hosts the world’s largest hub of online training courses, has raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Partech Ventures.

The Portland-based startup aggregates more than 20,000 online classes hosted by hundreds of providers that teach a variety of subjects, from SEO to JavaScript to Interview Skills. The company is geared toward companies looking to train employees.

In a nutshell, OpenSesame wants to do what Amazon.com did for books and what iTunes did for music, but instead offering a source for online training courses. The platform gives content creators an easy and efficient way to reach the masses and specifically corporations, as the three-year-old company already has partners like DISH, Wunderman and Five Guys, who use OpenSesame’s courses to train their workers.

OpenSesame General Manager Josh Blank.
OpenSesame General Manager Josh Blank.

“Our number one goal is to be the world’s marketplace for buying e-learning courses,” senior vice president Josh Blank told GeekWire. “We see several examples of large marketplaces that have developed around formerly offline media, whether it’s photos, music or books.”

OpenSesame is attractive for content creators because it supports the three most widely-used standards for delivering online courses, so that classes purchased from its website can be played in any corporate training system. Meanwhile, Blank said that the company’s customers enjoy the flexibility that OpenSesame offers.

“They can buy any way they want — large up front purchases with volume discounts, or pay-per-use models where companies only pay when an employee actually takes a course,” he explained.

OpenSesame will use the fresh funding to expand its sales, engineering and marketing teams. Blank said that the 19-person company has “a lot of new product ideas,” that will roll out in 2014.

Nicolas El Baze, General Partner at Partech Ventures, will join the OpenSesame board. This $8 million round pushes total funding for OpenSesame to $10 million.

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