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Shaping the Future of Learning: 2020 and Beyond at LearnUpon
LearnUpon has always been based on two things – our product and our people. A balance of both a modern, user-friendly product and an expert customer-focused team is what we believe is the key to helping our customers succeed.
In 2020, we doubled down on this belief, and by growing our team and continuously enhancing our product, we’ve experienced our most exceptional year yet.
Although 2020 did come with its ups and many downs (to put it lightly!), I’m delighted to share the story of how LearnUpon has adapted, grown, and thrived as a company over the last 12 months, and share how we plan to continue our journey to be the world’s leading LMS.
The year of remote learning
Our team has always believed in the value that online learning can bring to businesses. Des, LearnUpon’s CTO, and I long touted the need for organizations’ to move to a more flexible, scalable, modern way of learning. And, 2020 has been the year where it came to fruition due to unexpected circumstances.
With the mass migration to online, remote learning, we’re seeing so many leading global businesses embrace a new way to onboard, educate, upskill employees, partners, and customers. We’re seeing the impact of this shift first-hand.
Our business has had a year of phenomenal, unprecedented growth. Not only have more organizations adapted LearnUpon as its learning management system of choice (1,000+ businesses are now using LearnUpon, including Booking.com, Twilio, USA Football, and Zendesk), but our established customer base has also ramped up the training being delivered through our LMS.
This year LearnUpon’s total users have grown by 50%. There are 40% more courses available through the platform, 70% more enrollments, and course completions have soared by 76%.
Not only is there more training happening, but our customers are doing it in innovative, success-driving ways. From CENTURY21 Affliated’s lightning speed transition from face-to-face to remote learning to Philips Hue and Signify’s globalization of its training strategy, I’ve loved seeing our customers excel and shape their learning future with LearnUpon.
Summit Partners: Investing in LearnUpon
Furthering the belief in LearnUpon, our biggest, most exciting news of 2020, was the announcement that we closed a $56 million minority investment from global growth equity firm Summit Partners. This was our first major capital raise, and an amazing achievement, since Des and I established the company in 2012.
For our team, this investment signifies an increase in momentum – we’re growing faster, building better, scaling further. With this investment, we can supercharge LearnUpon and continue on our mission of helping businesses worldwide unlock the power of learning.
A future-focused look for a future-focused LMS
With all these exciting developments, our team began to reevaluate who LearnUpon is and who we want our brand to be.
This ended with us completing a full brand overhaul in early fall. We planned to create a brand and message that mirrors who we, as a company, are today, and who we aspire to be tomorrow.
Modern, stylish, and geometric, every aspect of LearnUpon’s design and messaging reflects who we are and underpins our customers and team’s future-focused outlook on learning.
Helping customers fuel their learning impact
For our audience of learning leaders that are building powerful training strategies, this year we wanted to provide an avenue to guide and inspire them. So, Learning Impact was born. Originally intended as an in-person, customer conference, due to social restrictions, our idea changed. Learning Impact was launched as a digital thought leadership series and it’s been an incredible success story.
Our team has worked hard, clinching some of the biggest names in L&D – NASA’s Dr. Karen L. Gilliam, McDonald’s Rob Lauber, Salesforce’s Heather Conklin – and every single session has hit it out of the park.
The attendees, the feedback, the engagement; it’s a series that I’m passionate about as it speaks to something we believe in – helping learning leaders reach new heights.
Continuing to work and grow, while remote
Earlier this year, like so many other businesses, LearnUpon had to pivot and adapt to a remote working environment to keep our people safe. Our team across our four offices – Dublin, Philadelphia, Belgrade, and Sydney – went from an in-office environment to a remote one almost overnight.
In a way, our process of working has come full circle; Des and I started the company working in different countries. We were always a remote-first company in our own way, but this was a huge undertaking in itself.
From logistical things like configuring Macs for 100+ people over a few short days, to introducing large scale training initiatives through our LMS to support at home working, it’s been a monumental shift that thankfully has worked for our team. And now, what was supposed to be a short-term tactic has turned into a long-term practice. We’re now a hybrid business, where our team members can choose to stay remote or, when it’s safe, work from our offices.
The drive to hire and onboard
To keep up with our fast growth, over the last 12-months we’ve had to meet the ambitious hiring targets we set late last year.
We needed more experienced, enthusiastic, skilled people to join our team, and now that we were all working from home, they had to be hired and onboarded remotely – something we had never done before. That didn’t slow us down though. We’ve added 80+ new people to the LearnUpon team (and trained them through our platform too), across all departments, almost doubling our team size.
Although we’ve almost doubled in size, from our perspective, we’re still in the beginning stages of growing our team. In 2021, we plan on hiring 140+ new employees.
We’re heavily investing in more engineers, developers and product managers to continuously build, scale, and enhance our LMS, so that it delivers a low-touch, user-friendly, high-impact solution for enterprise-level businesses. While also focusing on finding knowledgeable customer support and success people, so we can continue to be a hands-on partner that helps our customers at every stage of their journey.
A friendly, supportive team
As we work apart, we didn’t want to lose what we know makes LearnUpon unique – our company culture.
Des and I wanted our existing employees and newest hires to be instilled with the same values, to strive for the same goals, and have the same sense of fun, inclusion, and support that they would in-person.
With everyone pitching in, we believe our team continues to feel the same excitement, energy, and connectivity even though they aren’t face-to-face every day. We’ve done this by using our tech stack — Jira, Slack, Asana, Zoom, LearnUpon — to constantly facilitate communication. Everyone is encouraged to have remote water cooler chats, take part in a Slack game we’ve called “Spin”, and join our monthly company updates as a way to break down location barriers and keep our team as close-knit as possible.
Finally, we’d like to take a moment to remember our teammate and friend, Heath Parkes. On the 31st of January this year, we experienced our saddest day in LearnUpon when Heath passed away. Having joined in February 2017, he was one of LearnUpon’s first Sydney-based Customer Support Reps. Always bringing a positive and fun attitude to every interaction with our customers and team, we’ll never forget Heath’s passion for Australia participating in the Eurovision, his Cookie Monster blue shoes, and his impromptu version of “Down Under” during our team trip to Berlin. 💙
2021 and beyond
2020 has been an amazing year for LearnUpon as a company. Our goal in 2021 is to continue to build an industry-leading product that helps businesses unlock the power of learning, and nurture an expert team that not only maintains, but surpasses the current customer experience.
We plan on being the #1 LMS of choice for leading businesses around the world, and we’re getting there.