Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, GO1 chief executive Andrew Barnes said the business had already doubled on all of its core metrics in the previous 12 months, before the pandemic.
“It’s been an incredible learning curve [being a founder] and over the last two months it’s been ever steeper,” he said.
“When we started we had a gut feeling there was an opportunity to build an at-scale business focused on corporate and adult education, but we didn’t have a lot more than gut intuition.
“Now, we’ve got much more conviction around that and I think the next three years will be pivotal in testing that out.”
The latest capital raise comes on the heels of an integration with Microsoft Teams, which lets employees at organisations using Teams take courses through the collaboration tool.
The integration had been due to go live in August, but when the COVID-19 outbreak hit, Microsoft and GO1 fast-tracked the deal and it launched in mid-April instead.
While Microsoft is also a backer of GO1, the integration is not on an exclusive basis. The edtech start-up is free to pursue similar integrations with Microsoft’s competitors, such as Slack, should it choose to do so.
“Our philosophy is wherever our customers want to access us, we’ll be there,” Mr Barnes said.
GO1’s new backer Mardrona invested $US100,000 in Amazon when it was little more than an idea and its partner Tom Alberg remained on the board of the tech giant until last April.
Madrona managing director S. “Soma” Somasegarsaid GO1 would be an important part of the post COVID-19 recovery.
“We met GO1 many months before COVID-19 was on the tip of everyone’s tongue and were impressed then with the growth of the platform and the ability of the team to expand their corporate training offering significantly in North America and Europe,” he said.
“The global pandemic has only increased the need to both provide training and retraining – and also to do it remotely.”
Our Innovation Fund first backed GO1 in 2017 and partner Jerry Stesel said the business represented the very best of Australian tech.
“In terms of markets, the corporate learning and development market doesn’t get much bigger and the current environment only increases the opportunity as organisations look to train, develop and upskill staff in a remote working environment,” he said.
GO1 now has close to 5000 businesses and organisations, including government departments, signed up. Australia remains its largest market, but the US has overtaken it in terms of growth.
Before the pandemic, the business had been preparing to launch a product aimed at helping businesses book and attend conferences in person and had been running an early adopter program for the service.
“We decided this was not the time to go to market with this product,” Mr Barnes laughed.