Portland startup OpenSesame raises $28M to expand corporate training marketplace

(OpenSesame Images)

OpenSesame, a startup that operates a marketplace for corporate learning programs, has raised a $28 million round to fuel growth.

Founded in 2011, the Portland, Ore.-based company runs a marketplace similar to Amazon or Alibaba, but with a focus on online training classes for employees. OpenSesame has more than 20,000 classes hosted by hundreds of providers that teach a variety of subjects, from SEO to JavaScript to Interview Skills.

The platform gives content creators an easy and efficient way to reach the masses and specifically corporations. Classes can be played in any corporate training system. OpenSesame takes a cut of each marketplace transaction.

Customers include Siemens, Toshiba, Maui Jim, and others. The 85-person company expects to reach a headcount of 140 by the end of 2019. Total funding to date is $47 million.

OpenSesame is riding a surge in e-learning usage as education goes digital and sites such as Lynda (acquired by LinkedIn in 2015), MasterClass, Coursera, Articulate, and others see big growth.

FTV Capital, based in San Francisco and New York, led the Series C round, which included participation from existing investor Altos Ventures.

“Enterprises spend over $30 billion annually on external learning content and programs to maintain a highly skilled, competitive workforce, as well as to comply with complex regulatory requirements,” Chris Winship, FTV Capital partner who just joined the OpenSesame board, said in a statement. “OpenSesame is capitalizing on key trends that are transforming the workplace, including a more mobile workforce, evolving millennial preferences and behaviors, and the rapid adoption of enabling technologies such as cloud and collaboration.”

FTV Capital made a recent investment in another Pacific Northwest startup, Tango Card.

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