Endeavor Entrepreneur, Go1, becomes the first South African tech scale-up to be valued at more than $1bn and Australia’s most recent unicorn — a unicorn being a tech company with a valuation above $1bn. South Africa is no stranger to exotic animals but this species is bucking the endangered trend and is a welcome addition to South Africa’s Big 5! In fact, Go1 brings Africa’s unicorn count up to 5, and includes Jumia, Fawry, Interswitch and Flutterwave.
Just 6 years after its founding, Go1 is expected to surpass the value of one billion dollars thanks to its most recent capital raise that is near closing, with a formal announcement following soon.
The edtech scale-up was co-founded in 2015 by South African Melvyn Lubega and Australian Andrew Barnes, together with their friends from high school, a year after they met as classmates in Oxford when they spotted a gap in the enterprise training market. They were invited to Silicon Valley by Y Combinator, one of the world’s top incubation programmes and early investor in Dropbox and Airbnb. That year their product was then recognised as the best new e-learning management system in the world by industry experts.
Today, Go1 is present in 6 countries and is a B-BBEE Level 1 contributor. It helps over 2 million people annually, in thousands of organisations, engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring. That’s more than a financial milestone!
“We are extremely proud of what we have built, we know that becoming a unicorn is an important milestone for us and the tech scale-up ecosystem, but we also know that our story is just beginning. We are so excited to be part of the learning space and believe that with the power of education and technology the opportunities are only just being imagined. We are grateful to our early backers, our incredible team and all our customers for coming on this journey with us.’ Melvyn Lubega, Go1 co-founder, said in a statement.
Go1 is as an e-Learning eco-system that gives customers access to the world’s largest learning and development library from any web-enabled device. Customers from all over the world get access to content in 17 different languages and content formats that range from video tutorial to classroom lectures, through to audiobooks and structure assessments, in one single subscription. Go1 allows you to access the content either within the customer’s existing learner management system or via Go1’s award-wining learning platform. With over 100 000 learning resources and more being added, their Content Hub now boasts leading local training providers together with top international training providers — such as Harvard Edu, edX, Thomson Reuters, Blinkist, and Wall Street Prep — covering any compliance or professional development topic.
Over the past 3 years Go1 has scaled rapidly, growing annual revenue at well over 100%, underpinned by the support from world leading VC’s, who backed their $40m Series C round in early 2020. Go1’s investors include enviable names such as M12(Microsoft Ventures), Salesforce Ventures, Madrona Ventures Group, SEEK and Endeavor. They have also been recognised in the Disrupt100 as one of the top 100 most disruptive companies and Linkedin’s Top 25 Start Ups 2018, 2019 and Top 10 Start Ups in 2020 as well as being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2017.
Go1 currently has over 300 employees and serves a wide range of clients, with customers in 30 countries across all industries and sizes with the smallest client having 15 staff members and the largest having 65,000. Currently, somewhere in the world a course is being completed on Go1 every 1.3 seconds — and, as Melvyn says, ‘this is just the beginning’.
We are also thrilled to announce that Melvyn recently joined the Endeavor Board in South Africa, unicorn status aside, when it comes to impact and paying it forward, the Go1 founders walk the walk! Needless to say we are incredibly grateful for Melvyn and Andrew’s contribution and a huge congratulations to the Go1 team for reaching this milestone. They are inspiring role models for us all.