Aaron Skonnard

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Aaron Skonnard
Aaron Skonnard.jpg
EducationBrigham Young University (B.S.)
OccupationCEO of Pluralsight

Aaron Skonnard is an American businessman and the co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight.[1] Skonnard founded the company in 2004 with Keith Brown, Fritz Onion, and Bill Williams, to provide online video training courses for software developers, IT administrators, and creative professionals.[2] Since its founding, the company has developed a full enterprise platform, and as of November, 2017, has received over $192 million in venture funding, and made several acquisitions.[3]

Early life[edit]

Skonnard says he first began learning to code as a child, when his father brought home an Apple II computer.[4] He later graduated from Brigham Young University in 1996 with a degree in Computer Science.[5] After college, prior to founding Pluralsight, he worked at 3M, Intel, and Axiom Technologies. During this time, he published three books: Essential WinInet,[6] in 1999; Essential XML: Beyond Markup,[7] which he co-wrote with Don Box and John Lam, and was published in 2000; and Essential XML Quick Reference, co-written with Martin Gudgin, and published in 2002.[8]



Skonnard, along with Keith Brown, Fritz Onion, and Bill Williams, founded Pluralsight in 2004. Originally, the company focused on classroom training courses for businesses. In 2007, they began to focus exclusively on online video training.[9] As the company grew, they expanded into enterprise subscriptions.[10] Skonnard says that as of 2019, roughly 70% of Fortune 500 companies have Pluralsight enterprise licenses.[11][12][13]

Since 2012, the company has raised over $190 million in venture funding,[14] with a Series A in 2012–2013, and a Series B in 2014. Following their Series B, Skonnard announced the company's valuation neared $1 billion, up from less than $100 million in 2012.[1]

Pluralsight has been listed as an Inc. 5000 company since 2013, ranking at 1155 in 2017.[15]

In 2018, the company held its IPO on the NASDAQ, opening at a $15 share price, and closed its first day of trading at $20,[16] which carried a market cap of over $2.5 billion.[17]


Skonnard has been recognized for his leadership as Pluralsight's CEO. In 2013, he received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.[18] In 2016, he was announced as one of Utah Business's CEO of the Year honorees.[19] MountainWest Capital Network also named Skonnard their Entrepreneur of the Year for 2016.[20] Skonnard was also awarded Utah CEO of the Year at the inaugural Utah Startup Awards in 2016.[21]

Silicon Slopes[edit]

In November 2015, Skonnard helped launch the Start Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization hoping to improve Utah's tech industry. At launch, Skonnard was named the foundation's chairman.[22]

In December 2016, the organizations Silicon Slopes and Beehive Startups formed a new nonprofit together.[23] Skonnard explained on Twitter that this would replace the Start Foundation.[24] Skonnard serves on the organization's board,[25] whose mission statement seeks to increase diversity and provide resources for startups and entrepreneurs in Utah.[26][27]


Skonnard has also invested in various tech startups in the Utah area, including Bevy,[28] Divvy,[29] Numetric,[30] and Grow.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Skonnard graduated from Brigham Young University in 1996. He lives in Utah with his wife, Monica, and their five children.[33]


  1. ^ a b Kim, Eugene. "This Startup Is Now Worth Almost a Billion Dollars by Just Focusing on Online Developer Training". Business Insider.
  2. ^ "Pluralsight LLC: Private Company Information". Bloomberg.
  3. ^ "Pluralsight". Crunchbase.
  4. ^ "Utah tech unicorn hosts inaugural conference, welcomes Michelle Obama | KSL.com". Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  5. ^ "Aaron Skonnard Bio" (PDF). Pluralsight.
  6. ^ Skonnard, Aaron (1999). Essential WinInet: Developing Applications Using the Windows Internet API with RAS, ISAPI, ASP, and COM. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 9780201379365. OCLC 39860055.
  7. ^ Box, Don; Lam, John F.; Skonnard, Aaron (2000). Essential XML: Beyond Markup. Boston, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0201709147. OCLC 45002067.
  8. ^ Skonnard, Aaron; Gudgin, Martin (2002). Essential XML Quick Reference: A Programmer's Reference to XML, XPath, XSLT, XML Schema, SOAP, and More. Boston, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 9780201740950. OCLC 47120090.
  9. ^ Buhr, Sarah. "A chat with Pluralsight founder Aaron Skonnard on the global move to sharpen tech skills through online training | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  10. ^ Lopez, Maribel. "Online Education: A New Weapon In Your Digital Transformation Arsenal". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  11. ^ DeFrancesco, Robert. "Pluralsight Deploys Machine Learning To Tackle The $24 Billion Tech Training Industry". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  12. ^ Carey, Scott. "How Pluralsight's SaaS Training Platform Plans To Close The Skills Gap". ComputerworldUK. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  13. ^ Bonasio, Alice. "How doing good can help CIOs do better". CIO. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  14. ^ Rosen, Ellen (2017-10-11). "As 'Unicorns' Emerge, Utah Makes a Case for Tech Entrepreneurs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
  15. ^ "Spread the Word: Pluralsight Is No. 1155 on the Inc. 5000 This Year!". Inc.com. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  16. ^ Konrad, Alex. "Utah Ed Tech Leader Pluralsight Pops 33% In First-Day Trading, Keeping Window Open For Software IPOs". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  17. ^ Konrad, Alex. "Utah Ed Tech Leader Pluralsight Pops 33% In First-Day Trading, Keeping Window Open For Software IPOs". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-04-14.
  18. ^ "Ernst & Young announces Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Award recipients in the Utah Region" (PDF).
  19. ^ "Aaron Skonnard: CEO of the Year - Utah Business". utahbusiness.com. Archived from the original on 2017-09-23. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  20. ^ "Pluralsight CEO named 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year by MountainWest Capital Network". Silicon Slopes. 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2017-09-23.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "The Official List of Winners at the Utah Startup Awards". Beehive Startups. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  22. ^ "Utah Tech Leaders Launch Start Foundation, Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard Named Chairman". Beehive Startups. 2016-07-12. Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  23. ^ "Silicon Slopes and Beehive Startups Join Forces to Better Serve Utah's Startup and Tech Community". Silicon Slopes. 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2017-10-07.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ Skonnard, Aaron (7 Dec 2016). "This is huge for Utah. @siliconslopes + @BeehiveStartups join forces to replace @StartOrg. Utah is unified!". @skonnard. Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  25. ^ Scribner, Herb (2016-12-07). "Silicon Slopes and Beehive Startups want to make sure you know about Utah's buzzing tech culture". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  26. ^ Konrad, Alex. "How Utah's 'Silicon Slopes' Became Cloud Computing's New Capital". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  27. ^ "About Silicon Slopes – Silicon Slopes". Silicon Slopes. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2017-10-07.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ "Startup Grind founders raise $6.4M for community event platform Bevy". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  29. ^ "Utah's Divvy raises $200M to eliminate expense reports". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  30. ^ FinSMEs (2017-10-04). "Numetric Raises Nearly $13M in Funding". FinSMEs. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  31. ^ "Grow Inc. Raises $1.5M to Launch Simple Business Intelligence Dashboards for Entrepreneurs". GlobeNewswire News Room. 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  32. ^ "Aaron Skonnard - Co-Founder and CEO @ Pluralsight". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  33. ^ O'Brien, Sara. "15 Questions with Aaron Skonnard". CNN Tech.