Our Investment in Arist
Making learning accessible, anytime, anywhere
We’re excited to announce our investment in Arist’s $1.9M seed round with Global Founders Capital, Craft Ventures, Soma Ventures, Liquid2Ventures, and Y Combinator. Arist spent the summer as part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 batch and we were thrilled to be the first investor in the round.
Before launching Acadian Ventures, I spent nearly a decade building Cornerstone OnDemand [NASDAQ:CSOD], the market leader in enterprise learning, with nearly $1B in ARR. As a fund, we know the market, the buyer, the gaps, and opportunity. This background encouraged us to explore a new generation of companies that could disrupt learning and led us to Arist.
Arist is the fastest way to train employees and create measurable impact. The company is guided by a mission to enable anyone in the world to get learning and training they need to achieve their dreams. With Arist, enterprises can create training courses within a few hours and immediately deploy the courses directly to a user via text messaging on a mobile device. Users can opt into the training and a course curriculum is designed to the users preferences. Although early in their journey, Arist has unmatched engagement and value metrics — 90% accessibility, 94% course completion rates, and a 7x return on investment.
For over two decades, companies have leveraged learning management systems (LMS) to deliver learning and training online. Most global enterprises, though, have struggled to deliver effective online learning and training to their employees. Poor user experience, low quality, dated content and friction-filled workflow continue to discourage engagement and degrade customer satisfaction. Broadly across the industry, NPS scores (-11) rate low in comparison to other enterprise software solutions.
We believe Arist is addressing the “innovator’s dilemma” in enterprise learning. Arist is highly unique based on a combination of factors including:
Faster — With Arist, courses can be created within hours not days or weeks. Learners can sign up for a course in less than 30 seconds via WhatsApp or SMS and personalize the delivery of courses to the users preferences (time, frequency, etc.)
Simpler — Leveraged text-based messaging platforms, Arist reduces the friction for employees to access the course. Instead of pulling the user into the course via email, login, and search, Arist pushes the course directly to the learning using text messages. This allows the course to reach all users, regardless of internet access, directly and immediately.
Better — Arist solves one of the biggest challenges in enterprise learning — user engagement. Courses in Arist typically achieve over 90% completion versus 20% of content providers such as Coursera and Udemy. Arist creates ongoing engagement with the user by delivering the course to the user preferences.
Cheaper — We believe Arist is a low-cost alternative to the expensive and time-consuming incumbent solutions. Many courses either require high bandwidth or expensive streaming to view the course. We believe the company’s land and expand strategy, defined with a “free trial” and “paid pilot” put the emphasis on a product-led growth strategy that is unique in the learning market right now.
Lastly, we are excited about the numerous use cases the product can address including mission critical training (State of California), real-time safety and compliance training (DuPont, Red Cross), and culture, onboarding, and reinforcement (GE). We believe Arist can dominate the “training for knowledge” segment by taking a disruptive approach to the market.
The company is led by co-founders Michael Ioffe, Ryan Laverty, and Maxine Anderson. The founders launched the business while students at Babson College, one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the US. We’ve been very impressed with the speed and creativity of the entire Arist team.