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OpenSesame Announces $28 Million Equity Round Led by FTV Capital

By Henry Kronk
May 29, 2019

It’s likely in 2019 that, no matter the size of one’s business or the field in which it operates, the right corporate eLearning content is out there … somewhere.  Finding, adapting, and integrating it for one’s needs is a huge job in itself. There’s no stronger evidence for that reality than the funding round that was announced on May 29. OpenSesame, the Portland-based eLearning services and curation company, said it has secured a $28 million equity Series C round from a group of investors led by FTV Capital.

OpenSesame’s Model

OpenSesame currently maintains a library of 20,000 corporate training modules authored hundreds of publishers from around the world. Businesses contract with them to identify, adapt, and deploy that training for their employees.

“Based on FTV Capital’s long and successful enterprise SaaS investment track record, we are excited to have them lead our Series C funding,” said Don Spear, CEO of OpenSesame, in a prepared statement. “This investment coupled with their extensive network of strategic advisors will help OpenSesame to continue to rapidly grow and innovate to meet the constantly evolving training needs of our customers as they prepare their employees for the future of work.”

The Series C round includes funding from existing investors, including Altos Ventures. As part of the deal, FTV parter Chris Winship will take on a seat on OpenSesame’s board of directors.

“Enterprises spend over $30 billion annually on external learning content and programs to maintain a highly skilled, competitive workforce, as well as to comply with complex regulatory requirements,” said Winship in a statement. “OpenSesame is capitalizing on key trends that are transforming the workplace, including a more mobile workforce, evolving millennial preferences and behaviors, and the rapid adoption of enabling technologies such as cloud and collaboration. We are extremely impressed with the OpenSesame management team, the market leading solution they have built and their outstanding growth trajectory, and we are excited to join forces in this next phase of growth.”

The Company Now Cuts a Line Between eCommerce Marketplace and SaaS

The original idea behind OpenSesame, developed by founders Joshua Blank, Don Spear, Aaron Bridges, and Tom Turnbull, was to consolidate the various training resources offered by publishers like Wiley, Cegos, and FranklinCovey into one LMS, according to the Portland Business Journal. That was back in 2011. Their original model was closer to providing a training marketplace.

They went through the Portland State University Business Accelerator and secured $2 million in seed funding from Harmony Investments. Early major clients included Dish Network (the satellite television provider) and the fast food chain Five Guys.

The Series C announced in May brings their total funding to $47 million, according to Crunchbase. Series A and B rounds brought in $8 million and $9 million, respectively.

They have since moved closer to a SaaS model. Most recently, the OpenSesame has been expanding its autonomous machine-learning curation tools. With the new equity growth round, the company plans to continue to develop those tools, and scale its operations across the board, according to a news release.

Featured Image: Zachary Keimig, Unsplash.