Professional development platform Learnerbly raises £1.6m in seed funding

Launched by Rajeeb Dey, the co-founder of StartUp Britain and founder of Enternships, the start-up will use the funds to help scale its operations

Learnerbly, a professional development platform for small business employees, has raised £1.6m in seed funding in an investment round led by Frontline Ventures.

Other backers included Playfair Capital, The Mayor of London’s London Co-Investment Fund, Future Planet Capital and a host of industry leaders including Stephan Thoma, former global learning and development director at Google, Renaud Visage co-founder of Eventbrite, Jason Stockwood CEO of Simply Business, and Claire Davenport CEO of HelloFresh UK.

Learnerbly aims to help small firms manage their talent development needs by providing their workers with personal development planning tools.

With a special eye on the millennial workforce, users are matched to the best learning opportunities, which are curated via peer-to-peer recommendations and insights from over 100 industry experts from companies including Google, Airbnb, AKQA and Unruly – with over 50% of the learning recommendation either free or “highly affordable”.

Positioning itself against “top-down and antiquated Learning Management Systems” Learnerbly seeks to take a bottom-up approach by empowering the employee to choose their own style or method of learning.

Founded by Rajeeb Dey, the 31-year-old is perhaps best known as being the co-founder of Startup Britain, a non-for-profit campaign that seeks to promote entrepreneurialism in the UK, as well as being the outright founder of Enternships – an online portal that connects students and graduates to a host of internships available in start-ups and fast-growth businesses across the country.

Last year, Dey was named among a host of entrepreneurs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2016.

Awarded an MBE for his services to entrepreneurship, he was previously the youngest recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2013.

The London-based start-up will use the funds to help scale its operations.

Dey said:

“Despite nearly $360bn being spent globally by businesses in 2016 on professional development, there is still a disconnect between spend, activity and impact.

“Learnerbly leverages expert insights and brings transparency to expenditure by continuously assessing the efficacy of all forms of learning activities.

“By placing our focus on the application rather than solely the acquisition of knowledge we are able to evaluate the impact of learning both for the employee and the business. We are creating a new category in the industry which we are calling a Development Management System.”

William McQuillan, partner at Frontline Ventures said:

“Millennials do not look at a job as a job for life, but instead as a stepping stone. Learning and development are therefore crucial to them when considering which employers they want to join or stay with.

“We see the Learnerbly team as being uniquely placed to address this challenge and become the category owner for professional development in companies around the world.”

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