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Ones to watch 2014: LearnUpon

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Brendan Noud, founder of fast growing Irish startup LearnUpon is on a mission to become the leading cloud based learning management system (LMS) in the world.

What is a learning management system and where is the opportunity?

“Our early vision was for a free online learning platform that anyone could use to deliver content. This developed to a more traditional cloud based learning management system (LMS) but one designed for training companies and SMEs. If your product is good and adds value to the businesses then you should charge for it. 

Within 18 months of their June 2012 launch they had signed up 100 customers and are adding 15-20 new customers monthly.

“We expect to have between 300 and 350 customers by the end of 2014. Our 2013 revenues grew 700% year over year. Our biggest market is the US followed closely by the UK. We are also seeing significant growth in Canada, Australia and Ireland.”

The LMS / eLearning industry is now quite mature with a lot of well-established LMS vendors already in the market. While this is a crowded market, according to Noud, the good news is that there is massive growing demand for online learning.

LearnUpon has six full time staff and are actively recruiting 2-3 more people to join their team.

The biggest challenge that faced the company in the early stages “was convincing our early customers that the company was financially stable and would be around for a long time.

The most satisfying moment to date was the fact that their second paying customer was a well established US company.

What's been the most important lesson?

Focusing on your strengths and identifying a clear market or sweet spot customer that you know your product is best suited and focusing rigidly on that customer at the start as you aim to build some initial traction and revenues.

What are your immediate next steps and long-term goals?

Our short-term goals are to grow to at least 300 customers by the end of 2014. We can achieve that goal through a couple of key hires which we are currently recruiting for and scaling up our marketing activities over the coming months.

Long term our goal is to become the leading LMS vendor in the world. When companies look for an LMS we want LearnUpon to be the first name that springs to mind. We are confident we can achieve that goal by continuing to offer the best platform on the market at an affordable price and backed up by amazing customer support. 

What advice do you have for other people/companies starting out in your industry?

The eLearning industry is one which is evolving all the time with new technologies coming to the fore on a regular basis, so it is important for anyone starting out in the industry to keep abreast of the latest trends and technologies and be able to converse with peers and potential customers in a knowledgeable way about how the industry is changing.

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