This post originally appeared on TechCrunch (a group-edited blog about technology start-ups, particularly the Web 2.0, new Internet products and breaking tech news). The author, Alex Wilhelm, is a writer for TechCrunch. Alex lives in San Francisco. View the original post here.
If you work for a large company, you likely dealt with an onboarding process. Perhaps little quizzes or pamphlets. I recently enjoyed this precise exercise while joining TechCrunch a few months ago, given that our corporate boss AOL is a fan of all things ancient.
The gist is that corporate training is a pain in the ass for the poor schmuck on the receiving end, as well as for those who have to get new recruits up to speed. Lesson.ly wants to change that by providing a flexible, online software solution to help businesses train new employees. Corporate training-as-a-service is the play. The company likes to think of itself as the ”MailChimp of teaching and learning software.” I tend to dislike “X for Y” comparisons, but in this case it fits well enough to bear repeating.
The sexiest thing online? No. But it’s an interesting pain point to solve, and one that likely has a wide market, given the ubiquity of corporate training.
As a service, Lesson.ly is currently functional, and attractive, though not as deep in its feature set as it needs to be. Lesson.ly was founded last July, and only left beta this March, so that is to be expected.
Companies using the product can create courses for their employees, assign each to various individuals, track their progress, and quickly view scoring. Creation of lessons is the biggest friction point for Lesson.ly users, so the company does hold some customers hands when getting their material in place.
Of course, companies can quickly white-label their tests, keeping their brands on top.
The company raised a single round of funding this July, led by Gravity Ventures. Also participating in the funding was Collina Ventures and a few angels. Lesson.ly declined to disclose the size of the round, but did note that it is seeking additional capital.
I spoke with Yoder about the progress of his young company. Given its model and market, the scorecard for Lesson.ly is revenue and customer growth. According to Yoder, his company has grown its revenue 245 percent month-over-month since January of this year.
Now, if you start from a very small number — remember that Lesson.ly is a corporate infant — it isn’t hard to chart aggressive figures. Lesson.ly’s service starts at $100 per month for a company with the need to train up to 25 people. Naturally, it charges more if you need more capacity.
Lesson.ly has three full-time employees, though it is in the process of adding two salespeople. I suspect that Lesson.ly’s first round was modest in size, and the company now needs growth capital to hire customer-facing denizens, as well as backend workers.
The company has big plans. I asked Yoder how long it would take for Lesson.ly to reach a run rate of $1 million, and he replied that it would take around 12 months. So, come next November, we’ll have a very simple measuring stick for the firm. Yoder also stated that he expected the company’s customer base to triple in the next six months.
We expend quite a lot of our total bandwidth covering companies with exploding user bases, huge valuations, and zero revenue. Yoder and his small crew are betting that they can take a business model that has been proven to work, apply it to a sleepy, even dull, sector, which is interesting. And if the company can scale its revenues as quickly as it hopes, it could join Nexmo among the ranks of the profitable young tech companies.
Still, Lesson.ly is small enough that it could topple over and be blown away. That said, from what I have seen inside the small, Indianapolis-based firm, that doesn’t seem too likely.
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