OpenSesame, Portland online learning specialist, raises $50 million | #education | #technology | #training

Portland online education portal OpenSesame reported $50 million in new funding Thursday, buoyed by interest in new workforce training options during the remote working era.

Privately held OpenSesame had previously disclosed $47 million in outside investment, most recently in a $28 million round two years ago, so it’s now among the best-funded young companies in Portland tech. OpenSesame said it will use the latest infusion to expand through acquisitions and new products.

Founded in 2011, OpenSesame runs a market of 20,000 online training courses on everything from cybersecurity to forklift safety to diversity and inclusion. Employers assign their staff to take the online courses to develop proficiency in professional skills or other subjects they need to know.

Other companies design the courses, then list them on OpenSesame’s website. OpenSesame takes a share of the revenue, historically around 50%, when a customer buys the course.

OpenSesame said Thursday that it has recorded a surge of interest over the past year as employers seek to train staff now working remotely, and as companies seek more training on diversity and workplace safety.

OpenSesame had 70 employees at the time of its last investment in 2019 and was in the process of hiring 70 more. It didn’t immediately say Thursday how many it now employs.

The investment firm JMI Equity led Thursday’s round, joined by prior OpenSesame backers FTV Capital and Altos Ventures.

“COVID-19, the increased need for learning resources around important DEI-related topics, and a growing commitment by global organizations to invest in continuous learning have all accelerated demand for OpenSesame’s technology, curation expertise, and content marketplace,” said Sureel Sheth, a principal at JMI.

— Mike Rogoway | | twitter: @rogoway | 503-294-7699

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