Training start-up receives $4 million in VC investment

by L&D14 Dec 2016
Queensland education technology start-up GO1 has been boosted by a $4 million investment from venture capital firms and other investors, including Blue Sky Ventures, Tank Stream Ventures and Shark Tank's Steve Baxter.
Based in Brisbane, the company is among a select group of Australian start-ups to complete the prestigious Silicon Valley Accelerator program, Y Combinator.
GO1 has created a marketplace for workplace training courses in which businesses can identify and book appropriate courses in a diverse range of fields, such as first aid and anti-money laundering. The company has pooled together more than 100,000 courses from providers that range from Sir Richard Branson to St John Ambulance.
The new capital also includes an investment of $1 million from the Queensland government's Business Development Fund, as well as backing from the likes of Black Sheep Capital, Full Circle Venture Capital, Amasia and chief financial officer of Wotif, Sam Friend. The latest raising of capital sees GO1 valued at $15 million, and is set to develop the firm's offices in Europe and the US and employ a further 30 people.
Despite the international offices and the three-month program in Silicon Valley, co-founder Andrew Barnes is keen to keep the company's headquarters in Australia.

"Australia has a lot going for it in terms of being able to build up a development team and also establish a team in South East Asia," Barnes told Australian Financial Review.

"We'll continue to hire more in the US too, as it is a bigger market obviously, but having Australia as the epicentre for what we're doing is actually a competitive advantage if we're trying to compete on the global stage."

GO1 hopes to establish itself in the training sector in the same way that household names have dominated other markets.
"There is a global opportunity to be the training marketplace," said Barnes. "Thinking of other industry verticals, Wotif and Expedia have dominated travel, or in retail there is Amazon and Ebay, and like us none of these companies produce the products themselves."
Shark Tank's Steve Baxter, who has invested in GO1 before, said, "GO1 is the perfect example of a start-up who absolutely gets it and is poised to grow rapidly all over the world into a leading provider of learning and management platforms."