South Africa’s e-Learning Platform Go1 Raises R2.9 Billion, Valuing Business at R15 Billion

Go1, one of the world’s largest corporate education content hubs for on-demand training and resources, recently announced a $200 million or R2.9 billion Series D round – valuing the company at more than $1 billion or R15 billion.

The online learning platform, co-founded by South African Melvyn Lubega and Australian Andrew Barnes together with their friends from high school, will be using this new investment to create new partnerships, expand its edtech product offerings, and grow its physical presence globally to support its more than 3.5 million learners at over 1,600 customer organisations worldwide.

This Series D funding round was led by new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, alongside AirTree Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures, Larsen Ventures, TEN13, and Tiger Global. Previous investors include Endeavor Global Catalyst, M12 (Microsoft’s venture capital fund), Madrona Venture Group, SEEK, and Y Combinator. To date, the company has raised USD $280M total, inclusive of previous rounds.

On achieving unicorn status, Lubega shares: “It is extremely humbling to reflect on the journey that we’ve been on as a team. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come, but our North Star has remained the same which is that we exist to unlock positive potential in people through a love for learning. I think that, ultimately, this raise validates the size of the problem we’re trying to solve and the size of the opportunity to address that problem.”

In 2015, Go1 set out to become a learning and professional development resource for organisations and a critical distribution partner for content providers. Its easy integration and breadth of content have led to widespread adoption on both sides – corporations that now have a single subscription for all workplace training needs, and corporate learning content creators whose insights can find their way to a larger audience.

Go1’s content aggregation approach reimagines corporate education, enabling organisations to utilise learning, training and certification content from a variety of resources via its SaaS platform or by integrating into existing learning systems.

“When people think about music, they often think of Spotify and access to unlimited music for one subscription. We believe Go1 is the emerging category leader in providing a similar experience for corporate learning. Powered by AI and machine learning, Go1’s platform provides an intuitive experience, and creates an opportunity for individuals to expand their professional development goals and explore the resources to help achieve them,” says Nagraj Kashyap, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

“With premier education providers such as EdX, Coursera, Skillsoft, and Harvard as part of Go1’s subscription, organisations can curate learning content to fit the needs and interests of its workforce. We are delighted to partner with Melvyn, Andrew and the Go1 team to help advance their vision of reaching one billion learners.”

The new unicorn will focus on scaling up its team and partnerships with new platform content and resources. The company increased its user base more than 300% year-over-year, largely driven by rapid expansion in key markets and government contracts with the Malaysian and Singaporean governments. Go1 foresees additional expansion opportunities in the United States and Europe through its growing integration with Microsoft Teams, Workday and SAP, amongst others. Additionally, there is an opportunity for Go1 to serve South African corporates and public sector which the company has not yet tapped into to date.

“Currently, every 1.3 seconds somewhere in the world a course is being completed on Go1— and we know that this is just the beginning. Having been part of Go1’s journey since 2017 when Andrew and Melvyn were selected as Endeavor Entrepreneurs, we have no doubt that not only will they achieve their ambitions, they will also continue to give back to the entrepreneur ecosystem and ensure that future generations have access to opportunities for self-fulfilment and community advancement,” Alison Collier, MD of Endeavor South Africa.

“Melvyn plays a very significant role in contributing to the broader South African entrepreneur community through his involvement in numerous organisations to promote entrepreneurship in Africa. He is also a member of several advisory and oversight bodies, including being on Endeavor South Africa’s board as well as a ministerial advisor on the 4th Industrial Revolution and the Department of Science and Innovation. He is a true example of ‘paying it forward.”

Lubega concludes by saying: “Across the continent, over the last few years there has been greater interest and greater valuations being placed on businesses either founded by African entrepreneurs or being built on the continent. That is part of the groundswell that highlights how backing African entrepreneurs as an investor and attracting capital to the ecosystem is actually a very compelling value proposition. And, at the same time, it tells African entrepreneurs that they can achieve the impact they want to have on the world, regardless of their starting point.”

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