Launched in 2003, LinkedIn quickly became the world’s leading professional social media network providing an easy way to build and follow professional relationships. Around the same time, Y Combinator (YC) and other accelerators emerged as a largely analog medium for entrepreneurs willing to devote three months and around 6% of their business to receiving. en masse training and links with mentors, peers and funders.
While LinkedIn and Y Combinator are as successful as ever, a new generation of companies are looking to bridge the gap between these two approaches through structured online experiences that offer a combination of training and connections to help people achieve their professional goals. .
The ease with which like-minded professionals can receive training, coaching and participate in communities, in large part through enhanced and scalable digital offerings, is a key part of the unbundling we are seeing.
The emergence of these companies is part of a wider trend of democratizing professional development, triggered in part by a growing awareness and recognition of the mismatch between what traditional education offers young people and what is required by employers. Indeed, the OECD estimated in 2019 that at least 80 million workers in Europe do not match in terms of skills and what is required of the workforce in a wide range of sectors.
It is therefore positive that the unbundling process improves access to high quality vocational training and development. Lower prices, shorter courses, and content more closely related to professions all make it easier to retrain and upgrade skills when needed.
Gone are the days when the only way to get a fantastic business education, for example, was through a $ 50,000 to $ 250,000 MBA, and the only route to highly skilled professions was through a $ 20,000 college course. to $ 300,000. Likewise, within this increasingly democratized system, access to coaching and mentoring at the individual and collective levels is improving.
The new approaches range from companies such as The PowerMBA, which offers an MBA alternative for $ 800 to $ 1,000, to On Deck, which offers professional development courses and communities for around $ 3,000, and Dorm, which sells a support and mentoring networks for entrepreneurs for $ 150 per month.
What do these approaches have in common? They are typically digital, not accredited by traditional academic institutions, and are shorter, condensed, focused, and closely related to careers and outcomes compared to traditional education courses. Many suppliers communicate and market themselves on “exclusivity” and the orientation of their communities. In addition, there will usually be content associated with the courses – the amount will largely depend on the objectives of the course and the offering (i.e. the content is shared, but not the core offerings of most. accelerators, incubators and mentoring providers).
The main areas of differentiation for this new wave of companies are the price (depending on the amount of customization available and the pricing model), the duration (short, intensive, bootcamp style or a recurring annual subscription), the delivery method (asynchronous and on-demand or synchronous and live), focus on content (content or focused on relationships and mentoring), degree of accreditation (degree of formality around certification and accreditation) and, well sure, whether providers focus on specific roles or general topics. It is important to stress that most of these avenues are specters on which providers can place themselves.
With this in mind, Brighteye Ventures has created a market map of the range of organizations helping individuals to further their professional learning, with a particular focus on business and entrepreneurship training. It is not intended to be exhaustive but rather highlights the wide range of groups operating in the space. We have, as a guide, included total funding (including IPO) for companies in each of the categories where appropriate and available (via PitchBook).