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Sandi Lin.
Skilljar CEO Sandi Lin.

A tech company can develop great software and push out newly-updated applications, but sometimes it may take a given user some time before he or she fully understands how to use the new technology.

This is where Skilljar wants to step in and speed up that education process. The Seattle startup, which today announced a $2.6 million investment round led by Trilogy Equity Partners, offers an on-demand learning management platform for enterprises.

Skilljar helps more than 30 clients like Uber, BECU, and Xero scale their customer/partner/vendor on-boarding, improve product usage, and ultimately reduce churn. For example, Seattle-based Tune uses Skilljar to offer a public, up-to-date learning environment for trainees and access to back-end analytics for administrators.


The idea is to give Skilljar’s clients a smooth on-boarding experience, one that can maintain long-term product adoption and retention even if a user doesn’t have the development skills or technical knowledge necessary.

The company said that in some cases, its clients have accelerated customer on-boarding by 90 percent and increased overall revenue, given that Skilljar speeds up the entire process. Skilljar, which charges monthly or annual subscription fees, also helps companies train employees.

Lin, who spent four years at as a product manager on the Amazon Local and Fulfillment teams, actually launched what is now Skilljar back in 2013 with two former Amazon colleagues when the company was called “Everpath.”

skilljar1A Techstars Seattle accelerator participant, Everpath offered a one-stop platform for online instructors to host their lessons — sort of like a search engine for online classes. But the company pivoted this past December to focus more on customer training for enterprises.

“We learned that targeting small businesses didn’t have a scalable customer acquisition path,” said Lin, who has engineering degrees from MIT and graduated from the Stanford School of Business in 2009. “At the same time, large companies kept approaching us about solving a similar problem, but at a much larger scale. We decided to listen to our customers and move upmarket with both the product and our target segment.”

Jason Stewart, one of Everpath’s co-founders, is CTO of Skilljar. Everpath’s other founder, Doug Gradt, returned to Amazon in October 2014.

“The [learning management system] market is roughly 3 billion dollars and growing more than 20 percent year over year,” Amy McCullough, Partner at Trilogy Equity Partners, said in a statement. “Sandi and Jason have built a 21st century platform that will become the de-facto standard for training and ongoing education.”

McCullough has joined Skilljar’s board as a result of the funding, while her fellow Trilogy partner Chuck Stonecipher will join Skilljar’s board as an observer. Total funding to date for Skilljar is $3.7 million, as the startup raised $1.1 million last year from angel investors.

Editor’s note: Sandi Lin will be speaking at the GeekWire Summit on Oct. 1-2 on a panel with other former employees for a conversation moderated by David Streitfeld, the New York Times reporter who co-wrote the story about Amazon’s workplace culture and conditions. Get your tickets here

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