Today is a milestone for us as we announce $42M Series C financing, along with new executive roles for David Blake and Chris McCarthy.

First, though, a huge thank you. We are incredibly grateful not just to our investors, but to all of you – our employees, our clients, our partners, and our families and friends – for supporting us in this journey, for sharing our vision, and for helping Degreed to get this far. I am excited and humbled, then, to share the details of our this funding and what that means for our product, clients, and team.

Our strong history

In the spring of 2013, Degreed raised $1.8M in a Seed Round from top investors in the world of business, venture capital, and edtech, including Deborah Quazzo, Mark Cuban, Mike Levinthal, Chris Eyre, Larry Rosenberger, Kaplan, and Walt Winshall. Since then, we have raised $32M more in our Series A and Series B financings, which added Jump Capital, Signal Peak, GSV Acceleration and Rethink Education to our investor list.

Mark Cuban explained his excitement about Degreed nicely. “Degreed allows organizations to inventory their existing employees, train them, and track it all,” he said. “And, when employees do have external training or experience, have the company give them credit for it—I think that’s critical.”

This $42M Series C financing brings our total funding to $75M. It was co-led by Owl Ventures, a fund that invests in the world’s leading education technology companies, and Jump Capital. Founders Circle Capital, along with existing investors, GSV Acceleration Fund and Signal Peak Ventures, also participated.

Why? Because “this methodology evolves the traditional learning model to today’s social environment through increased interaction and engagement,” said Paola Mazzoleni, the Chief Human Resources Officer at Tenaris, one of our customers. “Employees have autonomy and accountability in defining and designing their development plan to reach their professional goals; they are investing in their future.”

Our experts

At the beginning of 2013, Degreed was a team of five people. Today, we are 150 strong and growing weekly. Each of our employees are driven by a respect for the company principles and the desire to provide our clients the best experience possible. And we’re all guided by 12 core  principles:

  1. Balance
  2. Moderately flat
  3. Equality
  4. Empathy
  5. Flexibility
  6. Dedication
  7. Family
  8. Excellence
  9. Candor and coachability
  10. Transparency
  11. Learning
  12. Mission-first

Focusing on these values allows each member of our organization to be intentional about our time. We believe operating this way has set the foundation for healthy tension, growth and most importantly, trust among teams.

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As we continue to pursue our founders’ original vision, a portion of the proceeds from this funding will also be used to expand on Degreed’s newest product, Degreed Skill Certification – the world’s first system to both certify and rate any skill. To guide those efforts, Blake, Degreed’s co-founder, has taken on a new role as Executive Chairman. Blake and the Degreed board named Chris McCarthy, formerly Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO, to lead the continued growth of the company and its award-winning learning platform.

“Keeping people’s skills in sync with fast-changing markets is the biggest challenge of our time,” said Chris McCarthy, Degreed CEO. “That’s why Degreed exists. We believe there’s a better, smarter way to help everyone keep their skills sharp for whatever’s next, to measure their progress as they grow, and to communicate their readiness – both to current and future employers.”

Our future

Innovation has always been our focus, and throughout our history, that’s been a key attraction for many of our clients. And it’s working. Nine out of 10 clients agree they’re building more productive learning cultures, they’re adapting to shifting business needs faster, and they’re investing in L&D more efficiently.

“Our people are our competitive advantage and Degreed is further optimizing the way that we address current skills and development needs in the short term, and how that will translate to performance as part of our longer-term strategy,” said Sarice Plate, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Development at Xilinx, another one of our clients. “Our learners are no longer having to guess at what’s quality or what might benefit them.”

With this new war chest, we are planning to develop new features and functionality that will improve the client and user experience, including:

  1. Best-in-class learner experience with AI-powered content curation – making Degreed the daily learning destination for all of our clients.
  2. The ability to unlock the ultimate currency of learning (skills) across each enterprise, along with the ability to enable targeted and curated skill development – fueling career mobility for all.
  3. Enabling an ecosystem of HCM technology and content partners, empowering our channel to build and expand business with Degreed and with our customers.

“We face the biggest challenges humanity has ever encountered,” our co-founder and Executive Chairman, David Blake, likes to say. “We need extraordinary experts to solve those challenges and make the unthinkable reality. Experts who can heal, discover, challenge, and advance.”

The future depends on our commitment to be our best selves and discover our own personal missions. To become experts—each of us. The challenges of the future won’t care how you became an expert, just that you did. And that you made a difference.”

Thank you for joining us on this rewarding journey. We look forward to what the future holds, for all of us.

Degreed is proud to announce our partnership with IP Innovations.

Our partnership enables IP Innovations to offer Degreed to the commercial enterprise markets and makes Degreed the first skills-building learning platform in Japan.

As a country, Japan currently relies on traditional learning management systems (LMS) and formal learning processes and training programs. However, there is an appetite for informal, efficient learning platforms within the country. The forecast for the Japanese e-learning market in 2016 was 170 billion Yen ($1.7 billion USD).

Through the partnership with IP Innovations, Degreed will be the first informal learning platform offered within the country. Degreed allows Japanese companies to better and more efficiently build skills, track learning and measure mission-critical skills development.

“We’re thrilled to announce a partnership with IP Innovations,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “IP Innovations’ brand equity in Japan uniquely positions us to reach thousands of businesses and offer them Degreed’s seamless learning platform. We believe the agreement is further validation of our mission, vision, and strategy and that informal learning has market appeal on a global basis.”

“We are really excited about partnering with Degreed,“ said Masashi Urayama, CEO of IP innovations. “Degreed is a learning platform that is based on the very different concept than the traditional LMS. While the LMS is a platform that supports formal learning, Degreed is a platform that supports the whole process of learning, including informal learning. In the future where the digital native generation accounts for more than half of the workforce, it is essential to have a platform like Degreed. Through our partnership with Degreed, we are going to foster the culture of learning and spread the method to support performance improvement in the Japanese workplace.”

About IP Innovations
IP innovations is a Japanese company where experts with long experience in the field of human resource development gather. We propose our customer’s distinctive approaches to help create innovative workforce and promote organization development. Founded in 2003, IP innovations is headquartered in Tokyo.

Learn more about IP innovations at their Website.

Interested in a partnership with Degreed? Please visit our partner page.

At Degreed, we know the skills gap doesn’t just affect Americans. People outside of the US also have the need for transparent, lifelong learning tools that can help effectively communicate skills, and better lives and careers. That is why we are so excited to partner with Alexander Forbes, on an exclusive basis in Africa.

Alexander Forbes is a pan-African diversified financial services firm operating in the Retirements, Wealth, Investments and Insurance markets. They provide thousands of clients with specialist financial advice and solutions and have recently launched Alexander Forbes’ Empower to enhance their financial well-being proposition. Through its partnership with Degreed, Alexander Forbes Empower now offers its corporate clients access to thousands of courses, videos, articles, books, podcasts and more. This makes it possible for employees to embrace lifelong learning as a daily habit – a massive employee benefit that boosts skills and experience and ultimately helps to secure financial well-being.

Africa is ripe for personal skills development and ongoing learning and the continent’s economy is predicted to boom over the next few years. Africa is also home to some of the most underdeveloped economies in the world, which provides an even greater need and reason to bring low-cost, scalable, individualized learning to the region.

“This is a momentous event for Degreed as we partner with one of the most innovative companies in Africa, Alexander Forbes,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “Alexander Forbes’s vision to better the people and companies of Africa through learning perfectly aligns with the mission and purpose of Degreed. We’re excited to create the next generation of experts in Africa.”

Alexander Forbes Empower was created with a clear and distinctive mission to empower customers to achieve better outcomes, through developing a lifelong relationship with education and learning. At Degreed, we’re excited to be a part of this movement.

Globalization means that an increasing number of organizations are becoming multinational. Many of Degreed’s customers are multinational organizations with offices across the globe. Degreed itself has offices in the US, Europe, and Australia. We’re excited to announce that we now offer a seamless experience for our users regardless of language or location, staying true to our mission of giving people access to the best learning resources, no matter where they are. We’re adding new languages all the time, based on client need. Here is the current list:

Languages currently supported in Degreed:
  1. Arabic
  2. Chinese Traditional
  3. Chinese Simplified (Mainland China)
  4. Chinese Simplified
  5. Czech
  6. Dutch (Netherlands)
  7. English (British)
  8. English (US)
  9. French (France)
  10. French (Canadian)
  11. German
  12. Greek
  13. Hebrew
  14. Indonesian
  15. Italian
  16. Japanese
  17. Korean
  18. Polish
  19. Portuguese (Portugal)
  20. Portuguese (Brazil)
  21. Romanian
  22. Russian
  23. Spanish
  24. Tagalog
  25. Thai
  26. Turkish
  27. Vietnamese
How internationalization works

Degreed will automatically detect the user’s language based on the user’s browser settings, which can be configured by the user. For example, if the user is running a browser set to German, Degreed will detect this browser setting, and will automatically display the Degreed platform in German without the user needing to update their profile settings in Degreed. Detecting language based on browser settings is an industry standard and provides the most user friendly experience. An organization can have users running Degreed in a variety of languages, and the experience will be personalized for each user.

Internationalization of Degreed applies to the platform and not the content itself. This means that the Degreed library will always display content based on the best matches whether we support that language or not. For example, if a company loads content in the Icelandic language, and I search in the library on an Icelandic search term, I will find Icelandic content even if Degreed doesn’t support the Icelandic language for the platform.

Plans for the future

To stay up to date with the evolving needs of today’s learners, we plan to add even more languages in more locations. We’re excited to offer one more way that Degreed can make learning better and easier, and drive engagement at your organization.

We spend hours on our phones each day – checking the news, sending texts, looking at social media, reading articles… the list goes on. In fact, over half of all digital activity now takes place on mobile devices.  As web browsing increasingly moves away from our desktops, powerful tools built specifically for mobile are becoming more valuable and more common.

That’s why we created the Degreed Mobile App – to help people be more productive with the increasing amount that we are consuming content on mobile devices! With the app, learning (and tracking!) is available whenever and wherever you want it.

Here are 5 things you can do right now with the Degreed Mobile App:

  1. Learn from your Feed, which populates personalized learning content specific to you.
  2. Search for content within the app.
  3. Track all the learning you do, both from formal and informal activities, like articles and videos from anywhere on your mobile device.
  4. Get notified, view and complete assigned, saved, and recommended items.
  5. Enroll in and learn from Pathways.

Need a jumpstart or some ideas to get started? Here are 5 ways everyday Degreed users/team members are using the Mobile App.

Maggie and tracking progress
“My family watches food documentaries on Youtube, and we share to the Degreed app from our Youtube history to get credit for what we’ve learned! I also track my progress on pathways through the mobile app, especially while commuting on the train.”

Alex and productive downtime
“I’m guilty of always pulling out my phone to fill downtime. I used to waste that time on social media, but now that I have the Degreed app, I can actually use those extra minutes here and there to learn. Typically, I will save items to Degreed during the work day and then on my commute or downtime pull out my mobile device to read my saved items. I’m also big on podcasts, so I love that once the Degreed app is installed, you can mark a podcast complete as you finish it without even having to leave the podcast app.”

Devin and centralizing multiple learning sources
“I use my iPad as my main device for work and learning, which means I use a variety of different apps for consuming learning content. I make good use of the Degreed share extension to mark content complete no matter which app and device I’m using. I also appreciate getting notifications for things I care about on Degreed, such as recommendations.”

Leslie and recommendations
“My favorite things about the Degreed App are my feed and recommendations. I love that I can pull up the app and go through my feed and see what has been specially curated for me on the go. This is especially handy when waiting for appointments! As I complete my learning I love being able to recommend it out to others if it is something that I think they would enjoy as well.”

Tim and multiple device access
“Every morning with a cup of coffee, either in front of the fireplace or on my deck, I like to read one or two recommended articles and watch a  video. When I run across one that’s especially interesting or relevant, I appreciate the ability to quickly share with my team or a co-worker. I also love that the app functions so closely to the browser version.  Moving between device types is seamless.

Ready? Let’s go. Download the Degreed Mobile App for iOS or Android now.

Degreed is honored to be recognized on two recent Training Industry Top 20 lists: Top Online Learning Library Company and Top Learning Portal  Company.

Top20
“Workers today are inundated with resources. More successful learning teams are utilizing practices like curation to cut through the chaos and bring only relevant, personalized content to each employee,” said CEO David Blake. “Degreed helps people discover, curate, share, track and value all types of learning – from anywhere – all in one place. By using Degreed, L&D teams can spend less time managing and more time empowering.”

Thank you to Training Industry for the thoughtful recognition.

The world’s largest companies are pushing a digital technology agenda that is changing the way the rest of the world works. Over $ 1.7 trillion in market capitalization resides in just four digital business masters: Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. It seems companies have no choice but to innovate if they want to compete and succeed and stay on the cutting edge of technology.

It takes a certain skill set and certain employee network to accomplish these goals, and many organizations are having a hard time cutting the mustard. A recent survey by the Manpower Group reports that 38 percent of businesses globally are struggling to find the right talent. Rather than wait for the talent they need to emerge from the market, enterprises need to look to their current employees first with a focus on how to internally develop the skills needed.

Degreed, Accenture and Nyenrode Business Universities are joining forces in a partnership to address three of the important challenges companies face in retaining and developing the right talent:

  1. Alignment: More successful organizations view their people as a strategic differentiator. They have a clear business strategy in place, understand what capabilities are needed and can align their digital talent development agenda with business objectives.
  2. Adaptability: The classic model of education – a burst at the start and top-ups through formal company training – does not meet the needs of today’s fast-changing business environment. At the same time, learners are finding alternative ways and sources to acquire the expertise they need. Companies need to rethink the way they enable, engage and empower the learner.
  3. Acceleration: Workers understand they need to develop new skills to remain relevant. In our survey, 85% of respondents said they would be willing to invest their free time to learn new skills. If companies invest in developing rapid reskilling programs, they can mitigate automation’s negative impact on workers.

In a combined effort, Accenture, Nyenrode, and Degreed address these challenges. The partnership aims to better exploit the window of opportunity for targeted development and enrich the learning experience with personalized learning offerings that provide academic rigor and proficiency.

“This partnership propels our mission to rotate businesses to the new and emerging opportunities of digitalization, furthering our high-value transformation services,” said Robert-Paul Doove, Senior Manager at Accenture.

Degreed supports targeted skill development to take place within the walls of an organization, by facilitating the discovery, measurement, and recognition of all learning. As explained by Degreed CEO, David Blake, “Our platform automatically connects people to relevant resources and offers an engaging user experience, stimulating people to make learning a daily habit.”

Nyenrode reinforces the learning journey for targeted learners by blending the digital, informal learning journey with their renowned strengths in the field of action based learning, expert-led masterclasses, case assignments, network events and academic rigor. “This partnership enables us to deliver innovative learning solutions to our clients,” says Diederik Slob, Program Director Professional Programs at Nyenrode Business University.

After a period of experimentation and optimization, the team is excited to start serving its first learners on their journey to become the workforce of the future before the end of the year.

To learn more, visit the Degreed website.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? (Don’t worry, I just pictured a 10-year-old version of myself in a cape too.) My answer to this age-old question has always been reading minds.

Maybe that wasn’t your first choice, but if you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head about how to get learners better engaged with the content you’ve provided, I’m sure it’s a power you wouldn’t mind having.

The right content for your learners can feel like a guessing man’s game. It can be hard to know what’s working, what’s not, and how to do better.

That’s where data-driven design comes in. There’s an abundance of data that can be gathered about how users are interacting with content. It’s just a matter of knowing what kind of data to look for, and how to use it to shape your learning design.

Lori Niles-Hofmann, Director of Digital Learning at Scotiabank, is a data-driven design guru. She’s a firm believer in pursuing the insights that we can’t see and leveraging multiple sources of data to identify trends to get ahead of learner needs.

What kind of data are we talking about? Likes, dislikes, most viewed content, mobile vs desktop usage, popular content length… the list goes on. All of these pieces of information are the users’ way of speaking up about what they like and don’t like – and it’s time we started listening.

As Lori says, “It is not enough to just curate and push out links. You have to have a plan to engage in online dialogue and listen to the comments from the community.” Far too often, companies offer what they think learners need and never pause to find out if it’s actually what they want.

In her eBook, Data-Driven Learning Design, Niles-Hofmann summarizes it plainly: “We can no longer push out content that we believe learners should or must digest… not when there is evidence that tells us what learners are willing to consume as digital content. Instead, it is time to be bold and give learners what they want.”

datadriven

So how exactly do we find out and deliver what learners want? Join Lori Niles-Hofmann in person at Degreed LENS for her “Upskill Yourself: Data-Driven Design Skills” workshop where she’ll discuss in-depth how to change your learning design to better suit your audience.

There has been so much change in Learning and Development in the last decade, it’s hard to imagine what the next 5 years will hold.

Consider these life-changing advances we’ve experienced in the last 10 years: in 2007, Netflix launched and the first Kindle was released, Android Software and the iPad were released in 2010 and coffee-lovers cheer, the first Keurig for home use launched in 2012.

The inventors of these technologies started their lifelong learning journeys in the same place – grade school. Did you know one teacher can impact 25 students every day and up to 4,000 students during their career? Teachers that receive quality professional development can impact student achievement by 21 percentile points. By investing in our teacher’s professional development, the return in learning is 25x.

To enrich the learning experiences of students across the United States, organizations like Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)  are committed to offering professional development resources to K-12 computer science teachers.

In preparation for her speaking session at LENS, I recently interviewed CSTA Director of Professional Development, Marina Theodotou on the future of education and learning.

Marina believes that education is rapidly evolving, much like the shifts we’ve seen in technology. Theodotou predicts that in the next five years we will need to learn to sharpen problem-solving and social interaction skills at a faster pace to keep up with the increasing speed of information and doing business globally. These skills will also be required to differentiate ourselves from  AI robots that have already taken over activities that take 30 seconds or less.

“The way to ensure that the learning sticks is to break it down into smaller chunks and make sure it’s  implementable,” she added.

So what is CSTA doing to ensure knowledge transfer among their teachers and staff?

“Computer Science changes rapidly so we must constantly make new content and learning opportunities available to educators.  We partnered with Degreed because we can curate content and create pathways on a variety of subjects. Degreed’s daily feed serves users new content every day is especially popular. It makes teachers lives easier because they can take that content and use it in their classrooms every day,” responded Marina.

CSTA teachers appreciate the easy access to diverse learning resources. The daily feed breaks learning down into smaller activities and makes it easy for teachers to implement what they learn.

Additionally important to learning from others is the investment we make in ourselves. I asked Marina what her most memorable learning experience was and how she was applying it today.

“When I was starting my career, I was invited to lunch by the CEO of Bank of America at the time, Mr. Hugh McColl. The 1.5-hour lunch was like getting an MBA. I asked him what the 3 ingredients to success were,  he said: to succeed you need brains, guts and public speaking skills. The next day I signed up to Toastmasters International and a year later got my competent toastmaster certification. Since then, I added two more skills to the mix: heart, which includes values, emotional intelligence and empathy, and tech skills, including knowing how to code, problem-solving and navigating social media. These pearls of wisdom have carried me throughout my career over the last 25 years.”

To hear more about her learning journey and how CSTA is specifically supporting our educators, please make time to attend Degreed LENS, September 28th in Chicago. Marina Theodotou will be speaking alongside UC Berkeley and Accenture for the session Upskill, Reskill, Repeat: How to Get Ready for Career-Long Learning with UC Berkeley, Accenture, and CSTA.

Today we announced the launch of Degreed Skill Certification, a new way to measure and communicate your skills. This new offering, only available through Degreed, will score existing skills and rank expertise levels using a scientifically backed method and technology.

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Degreed Skill Certification is a way for people to prove their expertise, regardless of how they acquired their skills.

How It’s Different From Other Certifications

  1. It’s all about skills: Degreed Skill Certification is purely skills based. You are evaluated and ranked based on submitted evidence of current skill knowledge.
  2. This is not a course: Degreed Skill Certification isn’t a training program, course, or class, but rather a credible way for you to prove what existing skills you have, regardless of how you acquired those skills.  Unlike other companies, Degreed does not funnel you into a “one size fits all” training program before certifying your skills.
  3. It’s flexible to your learning style: If you don’t like the score you receive or want to challenge yourself to get to a higher level, you can improve your skills in whatever way suits you. Take a course, get more experience, self-train using internet tutorials; use whatever resources are available to you.
  4. This doesn’t have to be a one-time certification: As you learn and develop skills, you can level up your expertise score.
  5. We’re changing the way people work: Degreed Skill Certification allows companies to benchmark the current skill levels of employees, target skill development resources to improve those skills, and then measure the improvements. Companies get codified transparency into the skills of their employees. Employees get the benefit of having their skills professionally certified.

How It Works

To get certified you will have to submit evidence of your skill mastery, have your evidence endorsed and verified, then it will be anonymously peer and expert reviewed. Now until Oct 13, 2017, we are offering a lifetime pass so you can get certified at any point in the future for no additional fee.

Why You Should Get Certified

“Degreed Skill Certification is a scalable, standardized way to rate and get recognized for the skills you have in whatever scrappy way you obtained them,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “This should unlock opportunities in people’s lives because it will remove the lack of transparency between the education and labor markets. We’re looking to connect everyone to relevant, fulfilling career opportunities.”

For more information about Degreed Skill Certification, or to apply to be certified, click here.

 

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