Outlearn raises $2M seed round to fix broken dev resources

With support from General Catalyst, Boston firm launches publishing platform for developers

Financial trends and news by Ronny Kerr
October 22, 2015
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Any time you start working at a new company, there’s always a learning curve involved. No matter how experienced you are, you always have to learn not only how your new team operates and the systems they’ve implemented, but also how they’re using those systems.

I can only imagine how much steeper the learning curve looks for those in technical positions, like developers.

Outlearn, which seeks to address this problem with a publishing platform for developer training content, today announced that it has raised $2 million in seed funding from General Catalyst Partners with participation from Paul Sagan, former CEO of Akamai Technologies.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Boston, Outlearn is pretty hardcore about transforming how professional developers get up to speed with the training and knowledge they need to stay successful at new companies. (You can read the founders’ manifesto here.) They host their "Outlearn Catalog" right on the company's homepage, featuring "topic streams" on Node.js, Pro-level JavaScript, and other technical topics.

With the company’s cloud publishing platform and curated content catalog, officially unveiled today, professionals can publish, assemble, and share developer learning materials with their teams.

For now, Outlearn is free for individuals to publish and read public learning content. Premium services start at $15 per person per month, opening up access to tools for team learning, private learning, and organization-level content publishing.

“It’s time to stop forcing talented engineers to fend for themselves and start a revolution in technical upskilling,” said Jeff Whatcott, Outlearn co-founder and CEO. “We’re giving pro developers and their managers the tools the need to efficiently organize, discover, and consume the great technical content from across web and the essential tribal knowledge tucked away on corporate wikis and in the minds of experienced engineers.”

Of course, while it’s clear what problem Outlearn is trying to solve, the cynic in me wants to say, “great, let’s just throw another system into the already-oversized pile of wikis and online databases.” Surely the idealists at Outlearn believe their single system can clear the rest off the table... but the question is: how will it play out in reality?

I asked the company for some names of customers but they’re not allowed to mention any by name. They’re “large organizations,” however, and “one is a bank.”

Vague, but it’s still early stages. It will prove interesting to see how they’re doing in a year, and to hear what kind of success (or not) customers have seen.

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Description: There’s a simple premise behind the founding of General Catalyst (GC) in 2000: entrepreneurs are best served by those who've been i...

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