JUNE 21 2021
Published in the Australian Financial Review
Unicorns may be mythical creatures, but their sightings are becoming more and more common in the Australian tech landscape.
Queensland-based corporate training marketplace Go1 is understood to be tapping investors for its Series D capital raise, with a valuation upwards of the lauded $1 billion milestone.
It’s good news for the company’s early investors including Steve Baxter’s Transition Level Investments, Tank Stream Ventures and the now defunct Blue Sky Ventures, which invested a total of $4 million in late 2016 during the company’s infancy. Having participated in Y Combinator in 2015, the Silicon Valley accelerator is also an early backer.
Go1’s current capital raising is slated to be upwards of $70 million and comes only a year after its last major round.
Positioning itself as the “Spotify of corporate education”, Go1 helps connect companies and individuals globally to training programs ranging from coding courses to first aid.
Founded in a garage by high school friends Andrew Barnes, Chris Eigeland, Chris Hood and Vu Tran, the business is now in the leagues of other Australian unicorns such as SafetyCulture, Canva, Airwallex and SiteMinder.
During the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in the Western world, the business experienced a 500 per cent surge in usage in its first seven weeks, as employers panicked about how to upskill their staff while they worked remotely.
Go1 has more than 100,000 courses on its platform, including from Harvard, Microsoft and Blinkist, having added 30,000 new courses in the past 12 months. New course providers to join Go1 in the past year include Coursera and EdX.
It is understood that the company has doubled revenue year on year for the past five years. For a private company to achieve a unicorn valuation, typically it needs to have hit, or be closing in on, $100 million in revenue annually.
SPAC, IPO on cards
While Go1 started out as a predominantly Australian business, 70 per cent of its new revenue is now generated in international markets like the US and Britain.
With so many courses on its platform, the company has developed its algorithm to act like Netflix, so that courses are recommended to users based on their profile, industry and previous engagement with the platform.
Go1 added AirTree Ventures to its capital table last year, when the venture capital fund wrote one of its largest cheques of the year ($7 million) to come into the company’s Series C round six months after it had closed.
The round was led by SEEK and US fund Madrona, while Microsoft’s M12 Ventures also participated, as did Our Innovation Fund and Salesforce Ventures.
It is understood the company has already been approached by brokers as a candidate to undertake a listing via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), as well as a traditional IPO.