Since its launch in 2013, e-learning startup LearnBig has undergone some significant changes. The Seattle-based startup, helmed by former Egghead Software CEO Victor Alhadeff, began as a hub for e-learning content, but the company shifted its focus last year.
“We built a beautiful website, and it really did not generate the traffic to warrant a big commitment,” Alhadeff said. “But what it did generate for us was a significant awareness of the amount of online content that people were really paying for to advance their careers. As we looked at that content, with all due respect, it sucked. It’s by and large talking heads or videos that lack the fundamentals of adult learning theory. So we believed that we could create a vastly superior product.”
To fuel that pivot, LearnBig raised $2.2 million in December from a group of investors including Costco founder Jeff Brotman and DocuSign founder Court Lorenzini. The company built out a production and engineering team to create an interactive training platform and content to go with it.
Here’s a video that shows how it works:
Right now, LearnBig is developing training curricula for a number of high-profile corporate clients, including Microsoft and Harley Marine. Going forward, the company plans to leverage that existing content to create a library of professional training tools. That way, people who are unaffiliated with a company can pick up skills in a manner similar to offerings available from other e-learning companies on the market.
Online professional development is a crowded space, with other companies new and old like Lynda and Pluralsight all vying to pick up users who want to improve their skillsets.
Alhadeff said that LearnBig stands out from the rest of the market by offering an interactive video platform that lets the user engage with content inside a video during a lesson. In his view, e-learning customers will comparison shop to find their preferred platform, and they’ll find that LearnBig’s offering is “like an iPhone compared to (its competitor’s) old Motorola phone.”
The company announced today that it added two key advisors to help propel itself forward. Lorenzini, now the CEO of Primus BioVision and CookBrite, recently joined LearnBig’s board of directors. The company also brought on Mahesh Ram as a member of its advisory board, tapping into his past experience as the CEO of GlobalEnglish, which provides English language learning solutions to companies.