|Traded as||NASDAQ: PS|
|Aaron Skonnard (CEO)|
|Products||Technology learning platform|
Pluralsight, Inc. is an American publicly held online education company that offers a variety of video training courses for software developers, IT administrators, and creative professionals through its website. Founded in 2004 by Aaron Skonnard, Keith Brown, Fritz Onion, and Bill Williams, the company has its headquarters in Farmington, Utah. As of July 2018[update], it uses more than 1,400 subject-matter experts as authors, and offers more than 6,500 courses in its catalog. Since first moving its courses online in 2007, the company has expanded, developing a full enterprise platform, and adding skills assessment modules.
Pluralsight was founded in 2004 as a classroom training company that involved sending an instructor to a business or training event. By 2007, the company shifted its emphasis to online video training.
Since 2011, the company has seen rapid growth. It has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies, ranking as the #9 Top Education company and the #19 Top Utah company. In October 2017, Pluralsight was named #29 on MountainWest Capital Network's Utah 100 list. In 2017, it ranked #20 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list. That same year, it appeared in Great Place To Work's 2017 Best Workplaces in the small and medium-sized company category. The following year, it ranked #9 in the category.
In April 2018, Pluralsight filed for an initial public offering. On May 17, 2018, the company opened on the NASDAQ exchange at a $15 share price, and closed its first day of trading at $20.
Through a subscription business model, Pluralsight provides online professional tech training to individual and business customers. The company pays its course authors a royalty, based on how often their videos are viewed. In 2013, author Scott Allen became the first of its authors to earn over $1 million in royalties from his courses.
The company also offers a complete SaaS platform for its enterprise users. In 2017, CEO Aaron Skonnard has stated that roughly 40% of Fortune 500 companies have a Pluralsight enterprise license. In 2019, that number increased to 70%. That year, business-to-business sales accounted for 86% of the company's billings.
In 2017, the company announced its participation in the Pledge 1% movement—a global initiative to encourage corporate philanthropy by asking companies to commit 1% of their efforts towards nonprofit organizations. The company launched Pluralsight One in September, 2017, with the goal of improving technology education in the nonprofit sector.
When Pluralsight first started, its four founders each contributed $5,000. For the first nine years, the company and its founders received no outside funding. As of March 2015[update], the company has received $169 million in venture funding.
In December 2012, the company raised $27.5 million in Series A funding from Insight Venture Partners. On March 18, 2014 it received an additional $2.5 million in Series A Funding. On August 27, 2014, it received $135 million in Series B funding from Insight Venture Partners, Iconiq Capital, and Sorenson Capital—reported at the time to be the largest venture funding round ever received by a Utah company. Co-founder and CEO Aaron Skonnard stated that after this round of funding, the company's valuation had increased from less than $100 million in 2012 to nearly $1 billion.
In December 2016, the company raised an additional $30 million in a Series C round that valued the company over $1 billion. The round included funding from existing investors Insight Venture Partners and Iconiq Capital.
For most of its history, Pluralsight grew its author base and course catalog from within. Starting in 2013, it has acquired a number of e-learning and education companies to bolster its technology, course offerings, and executive leadership.
On July 24, 2013, it acquired PeepCode, a provider of open source training to developers, for an undisclosed amount. This added about 100 new courses in the Open Source category to Pluralsight's course catalog, expanding it beyond its traditional realm of offerings focused mainly on developers who worked on Microsoft technologies. On August 5, it acquired Chicago-based TrainSignal, a company providing training for Information technology personnel, for $23.6 million. It absorbed 35 TrainSignal employees, and maintained its office in Chicago as a satellite. On October 31, Pluralsight acquired Tekpub, producer of a series of screencasts on new development technologies, for an undisclosed amount. Co-founder Rob Conery joined Pluralsight, and continues to produce training videos under its brand. Other authors from Tekpub, including Jon Skeet and Scott Hanselman, also became Pluralsight authors.
On April 9, 2014, Pluralsight announced it acquired Digital-Tutors, a company providing training for creative professionals, for $45 million. This acquisition expanded the company's training catalog to more than 3000 titles, broadening its topic coverage to media and design. Approximately 30 employees from Digital-Tutors joined Pluralsight. Pluralsight maintained the former Digital-Tutors headquarters in Oklahoma City as a satellite office. On November 19, Pluralsight announced it had acquired Smarterer, an online skills assessment platform, for $75 million. Based in Boston, Smarterer was founded in 2010 and was backed by Google Ventures, among others. Smarterer founder and CEO Dave Balter stated that his entire 18-person staff would remain with the company.
On January 26, 2015, Pluralsight announced its acquisition of Orlando-based Code School, an online training site offering video courses and exercise-based lessons related to entry-level and intermediate coding and programming. It was reported that the acquisition was for $36 million. Code School's office, and its team of 39 full-time employees, remain open in Orlando. On July 9, Pluralsight announced its acquisition of HackHands for an undisclosed amount. Founded in 2013, San Francisco-based HackHands provides on-demand live assistance for technology learners via video and audio chat, instant messaging, and screen sharing. The HackHands acquisition marked Pluralsight's seventh deal in two years.
On May 1, 2019, Pluralsight announced its acquisition of GitPrime, a developer team productivity tool, for $170 million in cash.
Partnerships and community involvement
In October 2012, Microsoft and Pluralsight announced a partnership making Pluralsight courses available to MSDN subscribers and through its DreamSpark, BizSpark, WebsiteSpark, and Engineer Excellence programs. The customized "Pluralsight Starter Subscription" consisted of several Visual Studio 2012 courses. In November 2014, the two companies partnered again, giving MSDN subscribers a 12-month access to a selection of Pluralsight's courses.
In 2014, Pluralsight partnered with the state of Utah's Office of Economic Development to offer Utah K–12 teachers a free one-year subscription to their training library. Utah Governor Gary Herbert valued the donation between $5 million and $10 million.
Pluralsight also partnered with LaunchCode in November 2014 to help candidates secure jobs in technology by offering one year of free access to the Pluralsight course library. In December 2014, the company supported the "Hour of Code" movement by hosting an hour of code for a week. More than 200 students across the state participated.
In September 2017, during a panel discussion with Ivanka Trump about increasing access to STEM-related programs in public schools, Pluralsight pledged $10 million as part of a private-sector contribution reaching over $300 million. Other participants include Amazon, Google, General Motors, and Facebook.
In 2017, Google announced, in association with Pluralsight, 100,000 scholarships to help developers gain access to advanced learning curriculum in emerging technologies, including mobile and web development, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud platforms in India.
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