Vanguard of the Revolution in Workforce Learning — Learning Pathways with Purpose, Anchored in Outcomes
GSV Ventures is proud to announce that we co-led CoRise’s $5M seed and $3.5M seed extension rounds alongside Greylock with participation by Cowboy Ventures. CoRise is a technical upskilling platform achieving outcomes and led by a dream team of 3 Coursera alums, who have unique insights into creating a high-outcome social learning platform at scale. As in all tech sectors, early category leaders spawn a rich alumni network well-equipped to found and lead the next generation of disruptors. As early investors in Coursera, we at GSV believe in the deep bench and unique strengths of this formidable group of CoRise founders and early team members.
CoRise is in the vanguard of a key revolution in workforce digital learning as it moves from “nice-to-have” to “must have” delivery. Enterprises are desperate to fill highly skilled technical positions and employees want career mobility and job satisfaction. CoRise brilliantly addresses each side of this marketplace with a social learning offering providing highly technical skills at scale with industry leading engagement and completion. It is the advent of workforce digital “learning pathways with purpose” at scale.
In the decade to come, technology will radically transform 1.1 billion jobs; bringing with it the creation of hundreds of millions of new jobs in high-demand areas of software development, cloud, data analysis, machine learning and AI.
Though the need to upskill and prepare workers for digital transformation has been talked about for decades, the last few years, in particular, have marked an inflection point for learning innovation within the workforce with numerous players achieving massive scale. Companies like Docebo, Degreed, and Articulate have become a key layer of digital infrastructure for 3K+ companies. Players like Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, and Guild now provide quality educational content and programs to 200M learners globally.
Additionally, workforce learning is now clearly linked to employee retention and satisfaction. In a world of tightened budgets and layoffs, it is more important than ever to retain highly valued technical talent by providing career mobility pathways through upskilling.
Exceptional Leaders, Product-Minds, Operators, and Educators
Transforming technical upskilling within the enterprise is not easy. But we believe that this team, with their experience building and scaling technology to hundreds of millions of global learners, has unique insight into how to build a disruptive digital learning platform.
Founder and CEO Julia Stiglitz has been on a lifetime quest to optimize teaching and learning at scale. As an early employee at Coursera, she started and scaled its enterprise business from 0 to 1400 customers. Formerly in leadership at Google Apps for Education and Teach For America, Julia knows not only how to empower people to teach and share their knowledge, but also how to scale it across the workforce. She brought these insights to us as a Partner at GSV from ’18 to ’21 and though we miss her brilliance at our investment table, we are thrilled to be on her entrepreneurial journey.
Alongside Julia are former Coursera early employees Sourabh Bajaj (CTO) and Jake Samuelson (CPO), two gifted engineers and product leaders. Since the initial seed round, the three have been talent magnets, quickly building a rockstar team featuring former employees of Google, Guild, Robinhood, and Facebook in addition to Coursera.
Learning Pathways with Purpose, Anchored in Outcomes
There are four key pieces to the magic of the CoRise Platform:
- Inherently social — learners feel motivated to complete courses and connect in a community of peers in similar or aspirational careers.
- Outcomes-focused — students complete interesting, relevant, and challenging projects, building and demonstrating new technical and business-critical skills.
- Driven by top experts — sophisticated and deeply technical courses are led and taught by trusted industry and academic experts from places like Apple and Stanford.
- Multimodal — CoRise’s suite of learning modalities — synchronous instruction, asynchronous instruction, peer-to-peer learning, TA-supported learning, project-based learning — combined together deliver a unique and rich learning experience.
CoRise has not only had strong early traction in terms of revenue and number of students, but also outstanding learning outcomes with industry leading NPS (65+) and completion rates (~80%) across 10+ courses. A student in CoRise’s Machine Learning track dropped out of her $80K Master’s program in order to focus on additional CoRise offerings. One corporate learning leader of a publicly-traded technology company raved about Co:Rise after a group of her engineers participated in a beta course where everyone not only completed but also unanimously gave an NPS of 10. With a new subscription offering and strengthening marketplace network effects, CoRise is well-positioned for future growth.
Breaking the Trade-off Between Access and Outcomes
CoRise is on a mission to drive a high return on education — increasing access, lowering cost, driving high outcomes at scale and giving expert teachers true leverage. CoRise is breaking the tradeoff between high-quality learning that is expensive and inaccessible, and low-cost solutions that lack student engagement and fail to drive outcomes for learners or businesses. GSV Ventures believes that the companies with the highest ROE will ultimately have the highest IRR. We at GSV are excited to be a part of the next CoRise chapter.