2017 IPO Prospects: Pluralsight Looks Ready

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Photo Credit: diane Horvath/Flickr.com

Cedar Valley, Utah-based EdTech company, and Billion Dollar Unicorn member Pluralsight is expected to go public soon. According to TechNavio, the global corporate e-learning market is expected to grow 11% annually to be worth $31 billion by 2020. Pluralsight has its eyes set on this fast-paced market.

Pluralsight’s Offerings

Founded in 2004 by Aaron Skonnard, Keith Sparkjoy, and Fritz Onion, Pluralsight was set up with a mission to change the world through online professional training. Aaron, along with his partners had years of experience in the professional software developer training market and they leveraged their experience to build a cost-efficient training solution. Unlike other training services providers that rely on individual trainers, Pluralsight went on to develop training packages that could be sold worldwide and help scale its business.

What began with 10 courses now boasts of a library of more than 5,000 courses created by over 1,000 instructors. Pluralsight charges a subscription fee of $299 per year for individuals or $499 per user per year for organizations. A subscription service allows users to download training material, access content offline, and participate in assessments.

Its effective business model has translated to impressive revenue growth. Pluralsight is privately held and does not disclose detailed financials. Reports suggest that its revenues have grown from $6 million in 2011 to $100 million in 2015. Pluralsight claims that revenues are between $100-$200 million in 2016. Other reports peg the number at $160 million for the year 2016.

Pluralsight has been very prudent with its funding. It bootstrapped its operations for nearly a decade before going in for venture funds from 2013 onwards. Till date, Pluralsight has raised $239 million from investors including Felicis Ventures, GSV Advisors, Sorenson Capital, Iconiq Capital, and Insight Venture Partners. Its last round of funding was held in December 2016 when it raised $30 million at an undisclosed valuation. Prior to this round, Pluralsight had raised $135 million in August 2014 at a valuation of $1 billion. Its last round of funding is expected to be used to pay off debt and build up its salesforce. The management recently announced that it was gearing toward an IPO.

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More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.

Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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