Local software firm Lesson.ly lands $5 million in VC

Indianapolis tech firm Lesson.ly Inc., which sells cloud-based employee-training software, announced Tuesday that it raised $5 million from a variety of investors to fuel "teams and technology," CEO Max Yoder said.

The round was led by OpenView Partners, a Boston-based venture capital firm that previously invested in ExactTarget. Local firms including Allos Ventures and High Alpha Capital also participated in the funding round.

Lesson.ly previously landed $1.1 million in venture funding in late 2014.

Yoder said the company, which has 30 employees downtown at 407 Fulton St., became cash-flow positive at the end of last year and didn't necessarily need the new capital. But when the company compared the growth projections of raising capital versus not raising it, "We just couldn't resist the opportunity to accelerate," he said.

Former ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey—who now runs High Alpha and invested as an individual in Lesson.ly's previous round—facilitated the OpenView Partners connection to Yoder.

Lesson.ly says its learning-automation software centralizes a company's tribal knowledge, allowing employees of all stripes to create lessons around areas of expertise. Enterprise leaders can vet those lessons, as well as assign, measure and update them as needed.

A relatively new push for Lesson.ly has been integrating with other software, such as customer-relationship-management platforms. For instance, if a company changes data to indicate a customer is a mid-market client, Lesson.ly can suggest lessons on best practices for selling to those mid-market clients.

"The best learning, in our opinion, is the kind that answers the question before it even has to be asked," Yoder said.

Lesson.ly has about 200,000 active users today, up from roughly 20,000 users this time last year. It has about 250 clients, including NBC News, Thumbtack and Trunk Club.

The company doesn't disclose revenue, but Yoder said the company grew sales 300 percent from 2014 to 2015. He expects revenue to triple from 2015 to 2016.

He also said the company plans to have between 40 and 50 employees by year's end and expand the size of its now-5,000-square-foot headquarters.

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