Gnowbe, a startup focused on bringing mobile app-based learning to the workplace, has closed a seed round of $1.7 million. Based out of both Silicon Valley and Singapore, Gnowbe has raised cash from multiple investors.
Participants in this round of funding include POEMS Ventures, Coent Venture Partners, and 500 Startups. In addition, angel investors Holly Liu, co-founder of Kabam mobile gaming company, and Singaporean Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of Credence Partners, contributed.
Gnowbe plans to use the recently acquired investment to increase the size of its development team and add more sales and marketing professionals. The company also looks forward to creating new features for its app, along with more content and training. The startup has stated that it will be seeking partnerships with ““key players in the industry.”
Gnowbe has already created such partnership with KPMG Digital Village, which is a community based on the collaboration of startups, government agencies, investors, and corporations. The goal of the partnership is to foster new ideas for technical services and products.
“We’re excited to have Gnowbe come on board KPMG Digital Village and look forward to co-innovating with them to solve business challenges. Their methodology of bite-sized learning, continuous feedback and social features serves as a great platform for corporates across sectors,” said Jan Reinmueller, head of Digital Village, KPMG in Singapore.
Gnowbe focuses on educating employees through “micro learning” games. What this means is that they create short courses that play like games aimed at aiding users in learning new skills necessary to do their job. These educational games can be completed in less than 10 minutes, typically on a daily basis. On top of that, the app offers multimedia content and draws elements from popular mobile games, such as unlocking rewards and leader scoreboards.
“Workforces around the world are rapidly transitioning to a ‘mobile-first’ mindset,” said Gnowbe co-founder and CEO So-Young Kang in a recent interview. “This presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses to empower employees through knowledge.”
These hands-on, actively engaging educational models play like games and therefore, hope to keep users coming back. Both employee and employer can measure progress and performance through Gnowbe’s data analytics platform.
According to Gnowbe’s website, some of the courses they offer include: Value Based Onboarding, Coaching for Leaders: Unleashing Human Potential, Leading Self: Balance in Essence and Presence, Design Thinking, Leading Others, and Delivering Successful Projects. Contributors include the Awaken Group, So-Young Kang of Gnowbe, Dr. Angus McLeod, and Dr. Yvonne Sum.
Here’s a video showing how an employer creates a lesson.
While with the Awaken Group, So-Young Kang’s first company, Kang discovered the need for such workplace learning games, according to an interview she gave with EdTech Times. After discovering that 40 percent of the company’s business focused on leadership development, capability building, and training, Gnowbe was born. The startup aims to reduce training costs by cutting back on face-to-face guidance, while still ensuring that employees are engaged.
According to Gnowbe’s web site, the startup already boasts over 6,000 users of the app, which was launched in 2016. Clients utilizing the educational app include Singtel, Hertz, Unilever, and Edwards.
Gnowbe claims that 90 percent of users enjoy the app, 75 percent of those polled stated they felt confident in applying the knowledge they’ve gained on the job, and employees are eight times more likely to complete educational modules when compared to traditional e-learning. The startup says it is seeing its users grow at a rate of over 15 percent monthly and the number of new programs created increase by 24 percent monthly.
Gnowbe is a portfolio company of the REAPRA Group, through its venture capital subsidiary, Coent Venture Partners. Founded in Singapore, 2014, by Japanese entrepreneur Shuhei Morofuji, REAPRA is a “business builder” with a mission to work with Southeast Asian start-ups to create new companies.
“Gnowbe’s solutions stand to profoundly impact learning behaviors,” said Morofuji. By creating engaging content, and delivering them through mobile platforms, in bite-sized formats, we are facilitating an ‘anytime, anywhere learn’ culture among employees. We believe that this approach will be far more effective in achieving organizational objectives, than traditional approaches that have outlived their usefulness.”