Berlin-based edtech Junto has just raised a €5m seed round for its B2B upskilling platform — which lets employees take live classes from tech operators at companies like Google.
What does Junto do?
- Junto sells its learning platform directly to businesses (roughly 100 at the moment) to provide to their employees. Employers nominate high-potential employees and pay about €2k per seat.
- As opposed to online learning platforms like Udemy, where learning is self-directed, Junto learners study in cohorts. The company thinks this will encourage more people to complete the courses — the Junto completion rate is 95% as opposed to 13% for massive open online courses (MOOCs). Cohorts consist of about 50 people now, with the company aiming for 200 to 300.
- Participants go through an eight-week onboarding process, during which they participate in one 90 to 120-minute live class a week, all in English. After this initial period they have access to live classes, on-demand content and community events like lunch and learns.
- “It’s a highly-curated social network,” says cofounder Marius Hepp. “Say you're a salesperson in Berlin and you enter Junto, you immediately can find others in the same realm. We’ll even help you match with those people and exchange best practices.”
- The courses broadly fall into two categories: classes around leadership and then more functional courses about specific roles such as sales or HR. 95% of the courses are taught by top operators at companies like Google and Amazon, and 5% are superstars, like successful founders, says Hepp. One example is Patrick Haede, who was previously head of product at Gorillas, who teaches a class on time management — and includes him showing his calendar and how he manages his week.
Who’s investing in Junto?
- Earlybird (led the round)
- Picus Capital
- Emerge Capital
- The funding follows a €1.2m round raised earlier this year.
- More than 40 angels invested earlier this year and more than 10 joined this round. Hepp says that the idea behind bringing on so many was to get access to potential clients and potential operator-instructors at fast-growing tech companies. The company does try and keep the angels and instructors separate, but some angels — like flaschenpost founder Stephen Weich — have given one-off lectures, he says.
What is Junto doing with the funding?
- Hepp says that Junto wants to grow to about 20 employees by the end of the year and 50 by the end of 2023.
- He also says that the company wants to use funding to develop the platform’s tech and prepare for internationalisation.
What’s the edtech market like?
- Edtech investing in Europe is on the rise — $2.4bn was invested in 2021 in European edtech startups, more than double the amount the year before, according to Dealroom. There is particular investor interest in platforms delivering products to help employees learn across their careers. It’s seen as a good way to incentivise and retain talent.
- Cohort-based learning platforms like On Deck and Andreessen Horowitz-backed Reforge and Maven in the US have been popular in recent years, though they are mostly B2C, unlike Junto, which is B2B.
People are working longer and changing careers more — which means that learning and development is going to be key for professionals in generations ahead. On the other hand, companies fighting for talent want to retain the best and engaging educational content is a compelling benefit to offer. But given most learning is still offline and — as anyone who’s taken an online course knows — online offerings are often as stale as last week’s bread, Junto will not be the last to play in this sector.
It’s interesting to note that Junto features operators and founders from European tech companies as instructors on the platform, like Penta cofounder Jessica Holzbach. It’s a testament to how far European tech has come that there’s such a strong bench of talent ready to teach the next generation.