As the pandemic continues to transform the way the world does business, industries and workforces are experiencing paradigm shifts and project acceleration like never before. One platform that’s among the many leaping into the opportunities COVID-19 is presenting is Thinkific.
The internationally-renowned platform for creating and selling online courses recently closed $22M in growth financing in a round led by Vancouver-based Rhino Ventures, who were early investors in the company.
Despite showing healthy profits since 2018 the company chose to raise additional funding to accelerate product innovation and hold its lead in shaping the future of online courses. “Thinkific is changing the face of digital commerce by empowering every entrepreneur and business to earn revenue and make a meaningful impact teaching what they know,” says Greg Smith, co-founder and CEO of Thinkific. The platform is also tripling its workforce, hiring an additional 350 team members over the next 18 months.
The financing comes at a time, says a recent media release, when the online course market (forecasted in 2019 to be worth $350B by 2025) has grown by leaps and bounds because of the pandemic. Since March, Thinkific has seen a 200% increase in online courses being created on its platform. Online training is skyrocketing across every industry – from solo-preneurs teaching guitar fundamentals, business coaching, and fitness training, to large organizations like commerce platform, Shopify, and social media platform, Hootsuite, who use Thinkific to teach their customers about entrepreneurship and social media.
Smith launched Thinkific in 2012 after discovering first-hand how difficult it was to create his own online course business. Today, over 50,000 entrepreneurs and businesses from virtually every industry use Thinkific to create and sell their own online courses, educating more than 25 million people from 190 countries. “Not only are millions of people learning new skills, but our course creators are generating substantial revenues and building large, profitable businesses all on the Thinkific platform,” said Greg. This year, revenue earned by Thinkific course creators surpassed $650M, and this revenue is expected to more than double to over $1.5 billion by the end of 2021.
Thinkific says its success is due to an all-in-one SaaS platform that makes it incredibly simple for anyone to create and deliver their own online courses.
Victoria-based Alacrity Canada is one of the companies who use Thinkific’s technology to power their online courses. They’d already been working with government and other agencies to create micro-credentialing courses aimed at quickly preparing professionals for career changes and shifts in an increasingly digitally-focused economy.
“We were midway through the second cohort of our Alacrity Canada Digital Marketing Bootcamp when the pandemic hit,” recalls Ania Wysocka, Senior Marketing Program Director. “We had to rapidly transition from a primarily in-person to a fully virtual course delivery, and needed to find a platform capable of preserving the quality of the course content and instruction for our current and future students. Thinkific was integral to this move and process, enabling us to upload our video and written content, view students’ progress in the course, create quizzes, and collect student assignments – all in one place.”
She says “the digital marketing essentials taught in our entirely virtual bootcamp this summer – including branding, website development, email marketing, social media, media buying, podcasting, and more – proved to be an important help to our students moving their careers and revenue generation online. Distributing the Alacrity Canada Digital Marketing Bootcamp virtually through Thinkific means we now have the capacity to reach more students and businesses than ever before. We look forward to seeing how they evolve with this new funding.”
Fraser Hall, Managing Partner at Rhino Ventures said, “working with Thinkific over the past four years has been nothing short of exceptional. It’s no secret that its business model, user numbers, and ~ 150% year-over-year revenue growth, is tracking, by stage, very closely to Shopify which is now Canada’s most valuable public company. Remarkably, we see profit margins for course creators on Thinkific average between 70-90%. It’s a model that is undoubtedly shaping a new world of knowledge entrepreneurship and one that’s accessible to any individual or organization that wants to add education as a new revenue channel.”