Game-Changer: The Story of EdCast’s Acquisition of Leapest
The recent announcement of the acquisition of Leapest by EdCast marks the continuation of the journey that began for the Leapest team in 2014 (even before Leapest brand or company existed yet) under the ITpreneurs group. We had dreamt of building a platform that would enable the sharing of all training assets easier and more transparent.
The corporate training industry was (and still is) under invested with very little breakthrough innovation happening in the management, design and delivery side of macro-learning programs. We took it upon ourselves to play a role in creating a platform where you can choose among various training components and assets, build/manage your training programs and create compelling (and consistent) training experiences while having the tools/utilities to manage your training efforts at scale.
That’s an enormous (and complicated) undertaking. Over time, the scope grew to cover all aspects of training deliverables including instructor-led, blended and self-paced options added an instructor marketplace and a certifications marketplace to the platform as well…
But I am running too far ahead. Let me flash back to how it began.
We struggled to get beyond the platform idea and into actual execution for almost two years in 2014-15. The lack of funding and the lack of focus played a role. Then in the second half of 2016, we decided to take a small, multi-functional team outside of our office to a “secret” location (literally – we worked in a stealth mode) for six months to build the Leapest platform. A lot of effort and passion went into design and development during this period. When we came back to our main office in Q1 2017, we had built the first version of a working Leapest platform. During 2017, we went live for existing customers to migrate them to a self-service experience and began recruiting new buyers. It was all happening at a frantic pace with all the intensity of a startup company. We were recruiting from all over the world (colleagues represented 15+ countries), onboarding them and creating a real melting pot was a daunting task.
The culture at Leapest evolved to be one of ambition and pride.
I was (and still am) so proud of working with young people who were stepping up to become leaders. It was a fast-tracked transformation that happened in almost real time during this intense couple of years.
In 2018, as our ambitions had grown, and we were looking for investment to fund these ambitions for Leapest, entirely coincidentally during a visit to New Delhi to recruit a new buyer, I met Karl Mehta and was introduced to EdCast. We met over a call – he was in California, and I was in Delhi – and the whole EdCast and LXP platform concept sounded too good to be true. Karl pursued contact with us and invited us to visit their offices in Mountain View to evaluate a partnership. The environment in the EdCast office was that of a real dynamic startup (despite being several years ahead), which felt natural, and we felt at home.
I have to admit that I was stunned by the vision of EdCast, and with how much ease and confidence Karl spoke about democratizing enterprise learning globally through the EdCast platform. Karl (as many others know and can relate to) is a bold and a charming leader. Our vision and style matched. After some consideration, we decided to accept their offer. We had not set out to be acquired but being part of the bigger vision made complete sense. I felt that Leapest would complement the EdCast vision.
As Josh Bersin, leading global industry analyst, wrote in his article , I believe combining the world-leading EdCast LXP with Leapest content marketplace is a game changer.
There are parallels with the reason Netflix has entered the business of producing content to satisfy the needs of its various audience segments during the last few years.
The last two weeks since the announcement have been a blur. It has also been full of energy and excitement as we come across EdCasters with similar ambitions and vigor in going about our mission.
We are very much looking forward to the next phase as we continue to plan and execute integrating our systems and combining our strengths. The combination of EdCast and Leapest expects to offer a new way of how corporates plan, manage and deliver competence development initiatives and manage upskilling and reskilling needs.
By empowering both the business units and functions, as well as the individual employees on what they wish to learn, we are creating the democratization of learning for some of the largest organizations in the world. The focus of L&D professionals empowered with the EdCast knowledge management offering changes from control to enabling personalization, curation, and collaboration. Everyone in the corporate training ecosystem can benefit from the efficiency and transparency that gets created and reducing the degrees of separation between various actors by bringing them all on one platform. Ultimately, we want to help everyone ‘Work Smarter’ via knowledge, learning, and automation.