Deal Snapshot: Learn on Demand Systems

Learn on Demand Systems is a leading provider of cloud-based virtual labs, content, and software tools that enable organizations to create and deliver hands-on learning experiences for IT and cybersecurity training, sales enablement and demos, customer support, and others. Harris Williams recently advised Learn on Demand Systems on its investment from Shamrock Capital. 

Here, professionals from the Harris Williams Technology Group and Business Services Groups share insights on what made Learn on Demand Systems an exceptional investment opportunity, as well as their advice for buyers and investors interested in the IT training and skills development space.

What makes the IT learning sector an appealing space for buyers and investors?


Leed: We continue to see significant investment activity across the broader education technology sector, specifically in IT and cybersecurity training, where a growing digital skills gap is creating a major drag on productivity across all industries. Further, the demand for digital jobs is forecasted to outpace the broader job market by 3.3x over the next decade, driven by sector growth and by the constant innovation that defines the space.1

Lewis: Demand for IT training is strong. Companies use it to train their workforces and attract and retain employees. Professionals want to attain new certifications and make themselves more marketable. Technology companies are training employees, customers, developers and channel partners on their platforms. All of these trends are converging to create strong tailwinds for the IT training and skills development sector. 

Walker: A move toward more personalized learning is also underway. Learners are increasingly demanding just-in-time, just-for-me learning experiences, creating more demand for experiential learning. This aligns with a recent University of Chicago-led study that showed an up to 60% increase in knowledge retention rates when learning is hands-on.2 So, blended training events that include challenge-based, hands-on virtual labs are growing in demand and driving an estimated $5 billion virtual lab technology learning market.3

What made Learn on Demand Systems particularly appealing to its investors?


Lewis: As an industry pioneer in virtual labs, Learn on Demand Systems is well aligned with the move to more virtual, hands-on learning. Its platform enables organizations to both create and deliver high-impact experiential learning experiences through its proprietary challenge-centric learning labs and performance-based testing programs that address a broad spectrum of IT focus areas. Many of the world’s leading IT training and software companies are partnering with Learn on Demand Systems to train, certify, and upskill IT professionals on new technologies faster and more effectively than traditional learning methods.

Leed: The company’s proprietary, feature-rich technology creates substantial barriers to entry. It makes learning easy for students, and it makes teaching more scalable for teachers. It also has a proprietary coding language that enables companies to create their own labs. And because Learn on Demand Systems is a trusted provider to the world’s leading technology and IT training companies, it enjoys high customer and revenue retention through a usage-based subscription model. Its platform supports all types of IT training activities, which gives it multiple avenues to accelerate growth, including a significant expansion opportunity within existing customers. It is also an ideal platform for consolidating complementary assets across the virtual lab and IT training space.

What advice do you have for prospective buyers interested in this space?


Lewis: The IT training market is large, growing, and fragmented, and there are many ways for investors to participate. Hands-on learning is one of the fastest-growing segments of the broader IT training market, as it can be incorporated into many different learning modalities.

Leed: Given the speed at which this market is changing, flexibility is a very important attribute to look for in any platform. That flexibility could take the form of how training is delivered, what the content of the training is, or which customers to target, from training companies to corporations or individuals.

In addition to covering IT learning, the Harris Williams Technology Group and Business Services Group have deep expertise in a wide range of subsectors, from consulting to staffing and many others. Learn more here: Technology GroupBusiness Services Group.

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Sources:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics
2. Ingmire, Jan, “Learning by doing helps students perform better in science,” UChicago News, April 29, 2015.
3. IMARC Group, Allied Market Research, Grand View Research
 
Published May 2021
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