Pluralsight Smarterer acquisition

HEDLINE: Pluralsight acquires Skill Test Platform Smarterer for $75 million

Pluralsight, an online training platform for professionals in the tech sector, has acquired skill test platform Smarterer for $75 million. Smarterer raised $4.6 million in four rounds from various angel investors, True Ventures, Rethink Education, Google Ventures and Boston Seed Capital. The Smarterer team will remain in Boston.

Founded in 2010, Smarterer created an algorithm that can assess a test taker’s skills with 10 questions, taking not more than two minutes. Having had problems finding growth in the consumer space early on, Smarterer started targeting employers in 2012, resulting in a 1250% growth in the first week.

Earlier this year the startup launched Flock, a business-focused version of its product. With Flock companies can assess the skill set of their current employees to get a better understanding of what they know, where the company needs to offer training and who are its most knowledgeable workers. On the other hand, employees can use the platform to keep pace with the current trends in the digital workplace.

Smarterer also partnered with the leading freelance marketplace Elance to assess the skills of 2.8 million online workers that offer their expertise on the portal. After the acquisition, Smarterer will continue to operate as an autonomous but aligned company. To date, Smarterer’s community has answered more than 56 million questions across 1.7 million test sessions.

The acquisition of Smarterer is Pluralsight’s fifth in the past 15 months, and comes just three months after a $135 million Series B led by Insight Venture Partners with participation of ICONIQ Capital and Sorenson Capital. The WSJ expects the revenue of Pluralsight to surpass $85 million by the end of 2014.

Pluralsight will incorporate Smarterer in its subscription based online training platform, replacing Pluralsight’s current assessment system. Smarterer will also be linked to the Pluralsight course catalog, enabling learners to follow an individualized learning path based on the skill test.

“We are excited to fuel Smarterer’s growth and help establish an industry standard for skill assessments and measurement. Smarterer’s distinctive technology paints a clear picture of true skill level, and creates opportunities for more efficient workforce planning and individual self discovery.”

states Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight in the press release.

The acquisition also marks a change in strategy as it is the first outside of the content space. Pluralsight aims to create an industry standard for skills measurement based on the expertise of its expert community who will contribute to the crowdsourced tests.

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Kay Alexander is the co-founder and creative director of EDUKWEST. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+