Education Site Pluralsight Raises First Outside Funding Ever: $27.5M
The thing about suddenly hot start-up categories is that they’re often home to under-the-radar companies that have been around for years just making it happen.
Take online education. After eight years of profitability and bootstrapping, the technical training site Pluralsight has now raised $27.5 million from Insight Venture Partners as part of an effort to take advantage of the newfound hotness of its sector.
Salt Lake City-based Pluralsight has got a pretty good thing going. It charges $29 per month for unlimited classes, $49 for additional features like offline access. Based on that it had almost $16 million in revenue in 2012, up from $6 million in 2011, according to Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard. That’s substantially smaller than Lynda.com, which is the biggest in this category, but growing fast.
Pluralsight has 40 percent profit margins and still manages to pay a substantial amount to the instructors who create its video courses: more than $500,000 in royalties for the top author on the platform, and an average of more than $35,000 per year for 100 more teachers, Skonnard said.
The company’s 400 courses cover topics like HTML5 and C#, as well as newer areas like Salesforce’s Force.com and Windows Azure. They have been taken by 200,000 students. About half of the customers pay personally for their own development, and half of their employers pay.
Skonnard said he’s looking to put the new funding toward ramping up course production and expanding enterprise sales around the world.
Pluralsight was first founded as an in-person training company in 2004. It’s now exclusively online and has 22 employees.