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Disruptive innovation in L&D gets collaborative! SoftBank-backed 360Learning acquires London-based rival for $20M

With companies looking to increase their corporate education spending to stem the Great Resignation, the learning management system (LMS) industry is expected to grow from $15.8 billion in 2021 to $37.9 billion by 2026. Spurring a phase of consolidation across the sector and leading a new era of collaborative learning, focused on L&D automation is French edtech startup 360Learning, which has acquired British LMS platform Looop for $20 million in a mixture of cash and shares.

The takeover is 360Learning’s first-ever acquisition after it recently secured a $200m funding deal led by SoftBank, Silver Lake and Sumeru in October last year. This acquisition also marks its first major step to increase penetration in the UK and help reach new audiences across Asia, North & South America and Europe.

Collaborative learning with AI

Talking about building a new era of collaborative learning, Nick Hernandez, co-founder and CEO of 360Learning, said: “360Learning and Looop are both collaborative learning platforms, allowing companies to create and launch corporate learning programmes to educate and upskill their teams to empower them and drive performance.”

The respective teams’ shared passion for transformational technology, simple UX and customer success will help bring about this new era. “One that will be built on the incredible customer satisfaction scores we’ve both already achieved, and the rapid growth we’ve both already experienced,” he added.

Embed learning into workflows

Founded in 2013 by Guillaume Alary, Nick Hernandez and Sebastien Mignot, the Paris-based 360Learning is helping companies to reshape culture, increase time-to-productivity for new hires, free up billable days and increase sales. It works with industry leaders such as LVMH, Aircall, Toyota and Appen which have used the platform to deploy over 3 million courses.

Founded by Ben Muzzell and Dan Gray in 2014, Looop has become a leader in L&D automation, recognised for its unrivalled user and customer experience. Looop’s data-driven learning platform is used by companies including Klarna, Monzo, Financial Times, Kazoo and ASOS. The company has achieved an annual growth rate of 100% and a projected ARR of $6.5 million by the end of 2022.

Ben Muzzell, founder and CEO of Looop, said: “We started Looop because L&D deserved better than the outdated technology they were being burdened with. They needed tools to be true collaborators, not just administrators. 360Learning saw the same need at the same time, and to now join forces with combined resources, complementary approaches, and a shared belief in collaborative learning is unbelievably exciting.”

Revolutionising edtech in 2022

In a mission to revolutionise edtech space in 2022, Hernandez said 360Learning aims to become the number one corporate learning platform in the world. “We want to enable companies across the globe to build and deploy the essential courses they need to onboard and upskill their employees to help drive growth. We want to do this by driving innovation, engineering and product development; expand internationally across North America, Asia, Europe and South America; and invest in strategic M&A.”

The acquisition will not have any immediate impact on each of the current businesses and customers have been assured that the two teams have a shared commitment toward maintaining a seamless user experience for customers as they move forward.

Tackling the Great Resignation

According to renowned educator, podcaster and thought leader David James, who is also Looop’s Chief Learning Officer, collaborative, progressive L&D is the need of the hour. “As L&D grapples with the triple hit of remote work, the Great Resignation, and the looming skills shortage I’ll be beating the same drum even harder — this time with the resources, technology, and support of 360Learning. It’s both an incredible opportunity and incredibly timely.”

Aiming to focus on L&D automation, the frontrunners in this sector include platforms such as Amsterdam-based Lepaya, UK-based Learnerbly and the Berlin-based Berlin Sharpist.

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