Danish company LMS365an online learning management system (LMS) built for use in Microsoft products has raised $20 million in its first institutional funding round.
Used by companies including logistics giant Hellmann and franchise for bottling soft drinks G&J Pepsiallows LMS365 users to create their own courses from scratch or import them from a third party such as Go1 or LinkedIn Learning, which use LMS365 announced a partnership with just last month.
“LMS365 does not invent a technology problem, but meets the professionals where they are”, CEO Rasmus Holst explained to ukbusinessupdates.com.
Under the hood
The LMS365 course creator and learning module builder allows users to drag and drop elements from existing content housed in Microsoft Office software, including PowerPoint, Word, and Stream. Or they can import pre-existing courses or quizzes created elsewhere and stored in it SCORM or AICC formatwhich can be useful for general industry-specific cybersecurity or regulatory compliance training.
From an end-user perspective, all this means new hires can be onboarded directly through Microsoft Teams or receive ongoing training in everything from customer service to mental health management.
Managers can also track student progress and present relevant data through Microsoft Power BI visuals.
The story so far
The history of LMS365 goes back to 2003, when dentist Bjarne Mortensen founded a company called Elearningforce that focused entirely on on-premise implementations of Microsoft SharePoint. In the intervening years, Elearningforce has evolved into a cloud-based product with support for Teams and Microsoft 365, and recently support introduced for Viva, Microsoft’s so-called ’employee experience and engagement’ platform.
Mortensen retired in 2018 and sold his interest to an entrepreneur Johan Wedell-Wedellsborg and Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallebæk, founders of the Danish bakery chain Ole & Stone. Holst joined LMS365 last year from secure messaging company Wire, where he previously served as Chief Revenue Officer.
While the company name technically remains Elearningforce, the company transitioned to the LMS365 brand in 2015, intended to reflect its focus on Microsoft.
But why focus specifically on delivering training through Microsoft and not Zoom or Google’s cloud-based software suite? According to Holst, it’s all about focus and reachable market size, not to mention Microsoft’s extensive software suite that includes hosting, communications/collaboration, and big data insights.
“Are [Microsoft software] a global, cohesive market of 350 million users – so our platform is easily accessible and placed in an app that millions use every day,” said Holst. “Microsoft also provides a toolset for the [whole] business — LMS365 uses Azure for hosting, Teams for delivering their application, VIVA for course recommendation, and Power BI for data extraction.”
In addition, by focusing on Microsoft, this minimizes the risks associated with trying to support too many software ecosystems. This was arguably more of a problem for a company that has grown organically without institutional funding.
“Having LMS365 technically build on other platforms and exposing us to technical debt is not a tradeoff that would have been beneficial to us as a bootstrap company,” said Holst.
Just over half of LMS365 users are based in the US, almost a third are in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the rest are scattered around the rest of the world.
“Typical customers are SMEs with 200 to 1,000 users,” says Holst. “Our primary markets (approximately 80%) are services, logistics, manufacturing, automotive, healthcare and government.”
LMS365’s first outside investment was led by New York-based Blue Cloud Ventures, with participation from Singapore-based Kamet Capital and existing shareholders. The company said it plans to use its new cash injection to double its global growth by acquiring distribution partners in the US, Germany and Australia.
“We see a clear opportunity in the market where we can accelerate,” Henrik Jeberg, Chief Strategy Officer of LMS365, said in a statement. “We will use M&A strategically in the future, including with respect to product development.”