I’ll get to the seed round in a minute - but first, I have an important confession to make.
When we first started Pathgather about 18 months ago, neither my co-founder Jamie nor I could have really told you what an LMS was.
Now, this could seem like an imprudent disclosure. After all, Pathgather is specifically designed to address the dissatisfaction so many companies feel with their LMSs, so you’d think that having years of experience with LMSs would be all but required.
And yet counterintuitive as it might seem, approaching the enterprise learning industry without a preconceived notion of what an LMS is, or how learning within companies is expected to work, has proven to be one of our greatest advantages.
How We Got Here
As is so often the case with startups, we created Pathgather to solve a pain we personally experienced. As online learners, we knew just how much high-quality learning content is available on the web, but were frustrated that there wasn’t a simpler way to find the best stuff, to see what our friends were learning, and to get recognized for completing courses and improving our skills. Your typical online learning experience was still annoyingly disjointed, non-social, and did little to actually help advance your career.
We felt like Pathgather needed to exist. And so we got to work on getting our our concept out there to see who else thought so too.
While weren’t surprised to hear that Pathgather resonated with other individuals like ourselves, we hadn’t anticipated just how many large organizations would find value in what we had built, too.
What We #Learned
As we spoke with more and more organizations, we quickly realized that companies are well aware that technology and globalization are changing the way they do business, and that it’s more crucial than ever that their employees constantly improve their capabilities. The key issue was that LMSs simply weren’t living up to their mandate - employees just weren’t using them.
Very early on, Jamie and I had the incredible opportunity to meet with the talented and forward-thinking folks over at Qualcomm, who were looking for a platform that would unify their learning ecosystem and truly engage employees around continual professional development. Nine short months later, more than half of Qualcomm is using Pathgather, and we’re more excited than ever about what lies ahead.
What We Believe
This is where the value of our LMS-less background comes into play. To us, the reason Learning Management Systems have garnered such widespread dissatisfaction and low engagement was immediately apparent: they don’t empower their end users: employees.
We believe strongly that relying solely on traditional, compliance-focused LMSs is no longer a tenable option for companies that want to keep pace in our rapidly changing world. For enterprise learning to succeed, it needs to be inherently valuable to employees at a personal level, which is why Pathgather allows employees to guide their own learning paths and enables them to get recognized for improving their skills. The surprising result is a learning system that doesn’t require learning, and yet drives far more learning engagement than systems that do.
The Road Ahead
We’re very happy to report the closing of our recent $1.5M seed round, co-led by Contour Venture Partners and Bloomberg Beta, and are motivated every day by the opportunity to build a product that helps people come together to improve their lives and careers. We’re fortunate indeed to be working with some of the world’s most innovative companies in this pursuit, along with a group of amazing investors who believe in the importance and value of our mission as much as we do.
If any of what we’re doing resonates with you, don’t hesitate to reach out! Let’s work together to build a more social, collaborative, and engaging future for online learning.