StormWind was founded with the objective of completely disrupting the corporate IT training market. By combining true high-definition, deeply immersive, rich media online environments with world-class instructors, at approximately 50% of the cost of in-person training, StormWind has now proven to be able to replicate the classroom using web-based video—something no other company has done yet.
The corporate IT training market has undergone shockingly little evolution over the past 25 years. In our view, StormWind is poised to do for the online IT training user experience what Pixar did to traditional animation entertainment-radically shifting expectations upwards of what the user experience can and should be. By providing a drastically improved user experience at approximately 50% of the cost of in-person training, StormWind could quickly become a leader in this market.
StormWind was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneur Tom Graunke, a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Tom founded Mastering Computers (MC) in 1988 and sold the business in 1998. MC trained over 250,000 IT professionals in instructor-led classes covering Microsoft, Netscape, Lotus, Novell, and others. In 1998, Tom founded KnowledgeNet which was one of the first bona fide attempts at e-learning for the corporate IT market. At the time Microsoft’s largest corporate training partner at the time, KnowledgeNet was sold to Thomson NETg in 2004. Many of the team members behind the success of MC and KnowledgeNet have rejoined Tom to help build StormWind.
StormWind’s Epic Live is a highly differentiated full-service product in the corporate IT training marketplace for a number of reasons: 1) next-generation high-definition graphics, 2) rich-media immersive environment, 3) visual slideshows and animations, 4) instant replay availability, 5) work/training balance, and 6) hands-on practice with real IT equipment. StormWind students have unlimited, 24/7 access to any StormWind class, with full practice and mentoring features. StormWind offers over 30 Microsoft courses and 19 Cisco courses, plus learning for PMI, VMware, Oracle, and others. Its QuickLearn e-library contains hundreds of self-paced courses. The Company produces classes for some of the largest online universities, “bringing content to life” with immersive, interactive, real-world learning.
The corporate IT training market has been around for over 25 years in its current form. The vast majority of corporate IT training is still done with in-person training at major metropolitan centers, which is both expensive and time-consuming for the learner and the vendor. The US IT training market is approximately $5B today, and is expected to grow ~10% to $5.5B in 2012 (Ambient Research Corp.). The global corporate online learning market is approximately $18B today, and is expected to grow at a 7% CAGR to $22B by 2014 (IDC Research).
StormWind could quickly become a market leader in the corporate IT training market by combining technological prowess, highly creative development, outstanding customer service, and an ability to become a true partner with customers. StormWind’s people comprise the industry-leading team, and they consistently produce excellent results.
The corporate IT training market continues to undergo significant changes, driven by the need for measurable ROI, cost-effective training solutions, and flexible training options. By combining true high-definition, deeply immersive, rich media online environments with world-class instructors, at about 50% of the cost of in-person training, StormWind has now proven to be able to replicate the classroom using web-based video—something no other company has done yet. On the technology and development side, StormWind has created an exceptionally efficient process in conjunction with proprietary development and delivery technology to produce work product very quickly and with much higher margins than are typically associated with this business.
While StormWind offers a highly effective, low-cost solution for the corporate IT training market, this market is not immune to economic slowdowns, and could suffer should the US economic recovery slow or reverse. The Company is still early in its development stage, and while it has garnered marquee clients and milestone projects quickly, the Company needs to focus on managing the rapid projected growth of its business lines.
GSVC percentage figures are based upon the fair value of each holding as of the quarter ended March 31, 2017, or the cost basis of the holding (exclusive of transaction costs) if the investment closed subsequent to March 31, 2017. In either case, these values are divided by the fair value of total portfolio investments of GSV Capital as of March 31, 2017.