EdCast Acquires Leapest. Changing The LXP Game with Content, Marketplace, and LMS Features

EdCast, one of the leading providers of Learning Experience Platforms, just announced the acquisition of Leapest, a fast-growing provider of learning marketplace content and technology with 1,600 enterprise customers and over 5,000 courses. This has the potential to change the game in the LXP market.

Learning Experience Platforms have become one of the hottest segments in corporate training. Originally designed as platforms to “discover” and “share” content (similar to Netflix), these platforms are rapidly becoming the new corporate LMS, and companies are snapping them up to handle almost every training program they have.

Last week, in fact, I spent time at the Fuse Universal user conference and talked to Scandic Hotels, Hilti, and other clients who are using their LXP platform to distribute internally developed training, videos, and all sorts of tips to help hotels and other local teams learn from each other. No LMS could ever do this well, and this is only one of many problems LXPs can solve.

In the case of EdCast, the company was a pioneer in the market and has hundreds of enterprise customers using it’s platform (EdCast is very much involved in the Learning In The Flow of Work strategy and just announced integration with Microsoft Teams last week).

This new announcement changes the game.

Becoming a Learning Marketplace and Advanced Learning Platform

As every L&D executive (and LMS vendor) knows well, all corporate training problems have two sides:  the technology and the content. Not only do we have to build and architect a great “place” and “environment” to learn, but we also have to build or buy great content, find great instructors, and provision and manage the actual training program.

The LMS vendors focused primarily on the administrative side of this, and built out much of the functionality we needed to run training programs – but never built a great experience and could only integrate with content providers through SCORM. EdCast plans to change all this.

Leapest, a company founded three years ago, was started by Sukhbir Jasuja, a veteran of the IT training and certification market. He and his team built a platform and marketplace that lets training buyers find and provision training programs, with many of the complexities removed. With Leapest a company like Dell/EMC or Deloitte can find IT certification training, make sure the trainers and programs are current, identify the best programs, schedule them, and actually register and manage the courses … all from the Leapest platform.

Leapest is a marketplace with specialized LMS features, focused primarily on instructor-led training and e-learning with a focus on compliance and certification content. Because the company reduces friction and makes it so much easier to buy and manage content and other training resources, many mid-sized and large training providers have already joined – so the marketplace is already well established.

For EdCast, competing with other established platforms in a huge but crowded market, this adds a new dimension to the company’s offering. The company already introduced its Content Exchange last year. Now with the acquisition of Leapest, EdCast offers a competitive, state-of-the art LXP platform, as well as

  1. Extensive “channels” of content that any company can buy and provision,
  2. A platform to schedule and manage actual training events,
  3. A growing marketplace of tightly integrated content a company can buy.

In a sense this is a little bit like AT&T acquiring Time Warner (or Netflix creating their own content): the provider of the network is now offering content as well. And since Leapest is already an open platform with buyers, this attracts other content providers to want to join the EdCast network.

EdCast Becomes A Network

I’ve known Karl Mehta, the found of EdCast, for a number of years, and he is a disruptive innovator by nature. In the early days of the company he set out to build a knowledge discovery engine that would help anyone find anything they wanted to learn. But ever since he started, he saw a bigger opportunity.

In this acquisition, we see EdCast’s mission of becoming a “global knowledge network” start to take hold. Not only does EdCast have a technology platform that solves many problems, the company has also developed relationships with NASSCOM, the World Economic Forum, the country of Norway and now offers a marketplace of IT and other content as well.

As I talked with Sukhbir about the business, I realized he appreciates how vast and complex this market really is. The idea of building a marketplace for learning is not new, but it’s complex, fragmented, and very hard to do well. He has been down this learning path, and already has many big customers and hundreds of programs provisioned and being delivered today.

Think about where this market is going: content integration is the next big thing.  Cornerstone has created its own content network, based mostly on reseller relationships. LinkedIn is clearly a content company and is moving aggressively to build out its LXP capabilities. Skillsoft has integrated its content into its LXP, Percipio. And companies like Crossknowledge and Coorpacademy blend content with an open platform. 

This is a bold and important move for EdCast, one that will immediately bring value to clients and differentiate EdCast in a new way. Becoming a training marketplace is a tricky business, so there are many decisions yet to be made, but for the LXP market this is a disruptive move, and I applaud EdCast and Leapest for helping us push the market forward.

More to come as this rolls out …