Bright Idea: Learning Made Easy

Skilljar defies the status quo in the training systems market.

By Andrew Fickes October 24, 2016


This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Seattle Magazine.

When San Jose-based MapR Technologies launched a free on-demand training and certification program in 2015 to teach developers, analysts and administrators how to use Hadoop software technology, tens of thousands of trainees signed up, crashing the companys learning management system. By transferring its users to Skilljar, a cloud-based learning platform, MapR relaunched the training program in just 45 days.
Skilljar was able to provide a training platform that scales with MapRs customer growth without risk of overloading or down time, says Skilljar cofounder and CEO Sandi Lin. Theres effectively no limit to the volume of end-user learners we can support, and that was a big selling point to them.
While competitors like Cornerstone OnDemand and SuccessFactors specialize in human resources training, Skilljar was founded in 2013 to help technology and manufacturing firms get their customers to use and, where necessary, be certified to use their products, says Lin, a former executive at We get customers to use products faster, more successfully and longer term through online training, she explains.

A company creates its training program and uploads it onto Skilljar. Customers can access training on computers, tablets and smartphones, anytime and anywhere. Skilljars platform allows for seamless integration with, enabling a company to monitor course registrations and trainee activity data.
The learning management system market, worth $5.22 billion annually, is expected to triple to $15.72 billion by 2021. Skilljar plans to more than triple its workforce to 20 by the end of this year. The startup did not share revenue figures.
We are in the beginning stages of establishing our brand or value proposition, says Lin. The best marketing tools are happy customers, and fortunately we have had a lot of success with our early adopters.

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