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Indianapolis’ Lessonly, a startup that develops educational software for teams, announced that it has raised an $8 million Series B round. The round was led by OpenView, and investors include Indianapolis-based High Alpha Capital and edtech VC firm Rethink Education.
Lessonly has approximately 500 customers, ranging from consumer startup Birchbox to payments processor Stripe. Lessonly CEO and cofounder Max Yoder told VentureBeat in a phone interview that customers use Lessonly’s software primarily to develop lesson plans for their sales teams and customer service teams, as both often have to stay up-to-date on public-facing information, such as pricing and return policies and the numbers and types of available products.
Yoder said that enterprise educational software has traditionally been developed with Human Resources or management teams in mind — teams whose main objective is to follow a rigid protocol for documenting what happens within the company.
“The compliance processes are well-documented, and the processes for managers are well-documented. But the process that I need as a salesperson or customer service person, the techniques that I need to understand in order to know how to do my job — they’re just floating in the ether,” Yoder told VentureBeat. “If you’re seeing inconsistent performances on those team — it’s probably because people have inconsistent information and knowledge.”
Yoder said that Lessonly’s software is designed to be easily adjustable. Anyone on a team can upload text, photos, and videos to create lessons that can take place monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly — though teams can ensure that a manager vets the lesson before it goes live.
Team members also have the option of asking questions within the lesson and can rank the lesson once they’ve completed it — features that Yoder said are designed to help teams develop more useful lesson plans over time.
According to Yoder, the average starting contract is $15,000 per customer.
Founded in 2013, Lessonly has grown quickly over the past year and a half, from 17 full-time employees to its current 80 full-time employees. The company’s reputation in Indianapolis has been buoyed by interest from some prominent players in the Indianapolis tech scene. High Alpha Capital, which participated in Lessonly’s Series A and B rounds, is led by ExactTarget cofounder Scott Dorsey. ExactTarget, a local cloud marketing startup, was acquired by Salesforce in 2013 for $2.5 billion.
In addition, ExactTarget’s other two cofounders, Chris Baggott and Peter McCormick, have backed Lessonly as angel investors.
Yoder said that the company plans to use its latest round of funding to develop software to help sales and support professionals “practice” the skills they’ve learned via Lessonly.
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