thoughts đź’­

Why we Invested in Coassemble

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2020-02-21

 

I remember my first training session as an 18-year-old intern entering the corporate workforce. Our team of around 20 people had to complete mandatory Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours by 5pm. No one had spent even an hour on training in the prior 364 days. Somewhat resourcefully the team decided to conduct the training on each other’s behalf. Each person would watch a different 45 minute video (one of those videos filmed in the 1970s that has zero relevance in today’s context) and complete a multiple choice, paper-based questionnaire for all 20 people. Within an hour, everyone had finished 20 training sessions. Viola.  

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In a world where increasingly businesses are reliant on human capital as their core competitive advantage, maintaining qualifications, training, organisation and consistency throughout a company’s talent base has become an ever-pressing challenge. Intangibles now make up 87% of the market value of the S&P 500. There has remained a consistent shift away from physical assets as a store of value towards process, capability, R&D and “smarts”. Yet training and development remains the consistent area of underdevelopment and lack of attention despite it arguably being one of the few levers managers possess to drive performance, culture and efficiency.  This is particularly true within 50 to 250 person companies that typically lack the resource to invest in their talent, don’t understand which content to share or what outcomes to drive towards, and have little chance of replicating a highly motivating culture of development. Only a small collection of lighthouse companies (often technology startups) have mastered the use of training to almost simulate a professional sports environment of constant growth, consistent micro-improvements and internal data-drive developmental processes.

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Employers that don’t prioritise training and development of their staff typically lag competitors in performance, engagement and staff retention. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. With 2020’s transient workforce, staff retention is no longer a hidden cost, but a major encumbrance to business of all sizes. Development is no longer an optional perk reserved for only certain positions. It’s expected by today’s talent. It serves to illustrate the employer values and how actively invested they are in their employee’s success – not just in the short term, but over their careers.  In 2018 the global LMS market was worth USD7.2bn. This is forecast to grow to USD22.4bn by 2021.

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Businesses today have access to virtually unlimited volumes of information and content. But with the rise of this knowledge economy, the means to share and transfer this value has not adapted to a new mobile, always online world.

Further, with the rise of remote and decentralised organisations, training needs to move beyond the “Harbour” meeting room and into employee’s phones, existing software stacks and everyday workflows. Employee’s shouldn’t have to travel to a different city, fill out a form, sign up to a new software or click next through a pre-determined module designed in the 1990s. They should be able to share best practice inside Slack, repurpose process flows into shareable content and build repositories internally to drive performance. Equally managers shouldn’t have to create content from scratch, pay $1000s to professional training gurus and should be able to monitor gaps in the organisation broadly. No more corporate training videos!

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Enter Coassemble.

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Coassemble is a Newcastle based software company that provides a Learning Management System to small to mid-sized organisations. The Coassemble LMS allows customers to author original educational content and to ensure ongoing training via a range of online assessment tools. The solution integrates with a number of adjacent technology platforms allowing customers to incorporate continuous learning into their existing software environments.  

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In a competitive market, Coassemble has demonstrated an ability consistently to win customers through superior product capability, improved user experience and an ability to stimulate more effective ongoing employee participation rates. Their team is exceptional, remote-first and totally committed to transforming their very large category.

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We first met founders Ryan and Jude almost two years ago and have tracked progress over this period. The founders bring deep industry expertise having been involved in corporate training and software development in the education sector over the past 15 years. Ryan’s professional sports background has imbued an obvious drive throughout the organisation and a demonstrable commitment to success.

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Over recent months we’ve seen the business effectively build out its US go-to-market capability and open its US HQ in Denver. Today the business serves some hundreds of customers, with a large and growing proportion of these in the US. Coassemble has an exceptional team, a differentiated product and a vast market opportunity. We look forward to working with the team as they go about building a truly global LMS business of scale.

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