Tell us about your product.
LearnUpon is a powerful learning management system (LMS) that simplifies online learning. Our cloud-based platform enables organizations to train their employees, partners and customers worldwide. We’ve grown to 600+ clients and 40+ employees, and have offices around the world.
What inspired you to start the company?
Co-founders of LearnUpon, Brendan Knud And Des AndersonHe has worked in eLearning for over 25 years. The company was built out of a desire to create a better LMS and overcome traditional frustrations in the market. Existing solutions were overly complex to use, took forever to implement, had poor support and were prohibitively expensive. The founders made the platform easy to set up and use, and they married that with exceptional support, which is free and available 24/7.
Which market are you targeting and how big is it?
LearnUpon is aimed at the corporate LMS market. Our clients are typically medium-sized enterprises, software and training companies that need to train their employees, customers or partners. Over 50% of our users are based in the US. The LMS market is estimated at USD 4-5 billion and is expected to grow at 20% pa till 2021, so the market potential is high.
What is your business model?
LearnUpon is a SaaS-based solution where customers pay an annual subscription. Our pricing is transparent and based on the use of the platform; It is related to our customers.
What was the funding process like?
We had angel funding to start with and have been self-funded ever since. We have grown organically since 2012. We’ve found that by hiring great people who listen to our customers and entrust them to us every day, we can compete. This includes competing with an American company with a market cap of $1 billion and another LMS that has raised $60+ million.
What are the biggest challenges your business faces today?
The LMS market is a mature and crowded space with over 600 vendors. LMSs, in general, have a bad reputation, historically being the clumsiest and most complicated alternatives. It can be difficult to rise above the noise. That with modern interfaces, great user experience and awesome support, spread the word about us fast.
What milestones do you plan to achieve in the next 12 months?
We have grown from 20 employees to 40 in 2016 and have many open positions. Our plan is to bank on the progress we’ve made and continue to build our platform and processes for our customer base.
What advice would you give to start-up companies in Dublin?
The startup journey is not easy! It’s fun, but it’s always hard work. Surround yourself with people who believe in the journey. Focus on your customers from day one and try to get them to pay for your product as quickly as possible, even if it’s only a small amount in the early days. Securing paying customers is an important milestone. LearnUpon co-founders Brendan and Des worked 24-hour shifts between them for nine months after landing their first Australian client. That’s the kind of commitment to your customers’ success that’s needed to thrive in a crowded market.
Tell us one (or more) things you love about Dublin as a startup community and as a city?
LearnUpon is a global company with employees and customers around the world, but our roots are very deep in Dublin. Being Irish is part of our identity and something we see as a competitive advantage. Dublin’s reputation as the home of some of the world’s leading technology companies helps lend credibility to startups looking to operate globally. We’re proud to be part of the Dublin startup ecosystem, and the support we’ve received from Enterprise Ireland, NDRC, the Dublin Office for Startups and other tech startups has been fantastic. Experienced entrepreneurs are very approachable and willing to share their experiences, and we have experienced such incidents. About balance advisor LearnUpon will be invaluable as we continue our journey to become the world’s leading LMS.
This article first appeared in the Dublin Globe. For more stories from Dublin’s tech community and startup scene, visit their website.