Workforce training startup OpenSesame raises $50M as shift to remote work drives demand

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Don Spear, CEO of OpenSesame (OpenSesame Photo)

Portland, Ore.-based OpenSesame raised $50 million in new funding, the company announced Thursday.

Founded in 2011, the startup helps businesses with online learning tools for their workforce. OpenSesame’s catalog includes more than 20,000 courses in 19 different languages. The 173-person company also allows learning administrators to customize lessons through AI-curated lessons.

OpenSesame saw “unprecedented growth” over the past few years, said CEO Don Spear. The pandemic drove demand as more teams operated remotely. OpenSesame saw an increase in demand for employee development programs focused on diversity, equity and inclusion; leadership; and enabling a safe working environment and wellness in the workplace.

U.S. education tech startups raised a record $2.2 billion in 2020, according to EdSurge, a 30% increase from 2019.

The new funding will help OpenSesame begin global expansion and extend its technology platform. Total funding to date is $107.4 million.

The funding round was led by JMI Equity, a firm focused on investing in software companies. They were joined by existing investors FTV Capital and Altos Ventures.

JMI also invested in Portland marketing startup Lytics.

Spear has a background in online learning tech, including founding, which provides learning systems to manufacturing, construction and service industries.

OpenSesame is ranked No. 50 on the GeekWire 200.

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