Peers: an EdTech aiming to build the smartest learning platform for the European workforce. Why we invested.

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Peers: an EdTech aiming to build the smartest learning platform for the European workforce. Why we invested.

Dec. 14th, 2021

Peers: an EdTech aiming to build the smartest learning platform for the European workforce. Why we invested.

By Wouter Goossens

We recently announced our investment in the Berlin-based EdTech start-up Peers, which fits perfectly into Fortino’s sweet spot of B2B (and AI-based) SaaS.

Peers has developed an AI-based online learning and development platform, which empowers employees to upskill and/or reskill themselves, supporting them to progress in their careers.

This blog gives further background to our investment rationale.

The Future of Work triggers a massive need for workforce reskilling

A well-skilled workforce drives labour productivity and employee satisfaction. Companies currently experience two particular challenges when it comes to the skill level of their workforce. First, there is a large part of the workforce that has an incomplete skill set for their job and is hardly engaged in upgrading it. Second, digitalisation trends and the increase of remote work have triggered a need to upskill the workforce with digital and remote collaboration skills, as well as a set of hard skills. The World Economic Forum predicts that 50% of our global workforce needs reskilling until 2025.

Today, most corporates have an online learning and development programme for their employees, and there are over 200 learning and development software vendors in the market. However, despite the large number of tools available, corporates suffer from low satisfaction and completion rates by employees and the business impact often disappoints. A 2019 HBS study found that among a group of 1,500 leaders across 50 organisations from different industries, 75% indicated they are not satisfied with the learning and development function at their company.

The European market for learning and development is huge and comprises €10bn at the minimum, with over 39,000 large companies (resp. >250 employees) in Europe spending an average of €1,000 per employee on learning and development per year (Eurostat statistics, June 2021).

Peers provides a user centric AI based learning solution, supported by own proprietary data

Peers empowers individual employees to complete a learning trajectory derived from the mismatch between their current skill profile and the skills needed to be successful in the current or future setting of their job, and their current organisations. Their solution differentiates itself by being user-centric instead of content-centric, focusing on personalised learning trajectories with an elegant and intuitive UX and UI.

Peers’s offering is built on its proprietary database, which contains over 15,000 jobs and related skill profiles. Peers users can select their profession (e.g. Sales Lead in manufacturing) and Peers will automatically generate an overview of the related job skills. Subsequently, users can add skills if desired and select which skills they would like to obtain or improve. For the selected skills, Peers instantly generates a learning trajectory, through its proprietary AI engine, which optimises the type of courses and the order in which they are offered based on effective learning behaviour theory. Such learning trajectory typically consists of 10 to 15 learning modules, which contain a variety of learning content (e.g. e-learnings, podcasts, case studies, one-on-one coaching, and virtual team assessments). The learning content is sourced from high-quality, vetted public and private sources, and companies can even add their own content.

Today, Peers’s solution has been used by over 1,000 employees (both white and blue collar professionals) across 10 corporate clients from different industries. Users love it – we see the people that have tried it wanting to do more of it and on average users give Peers a Net Promoter Score of 4.5 (out of 5, with 5 as best). Corporates also value the solution highly as they experience employees getting better at their job at improved motivation and commitment levels.

Peers is run by a high calibre team that is on a mission to win

Peers is run by an international leadership team who, we believe, has what it takes to win. Elisa – Co-Founder and CEO – who is the strategic brain of the company - and has experienced first-hand the importance of employee upskill or reskill in relation to business transformation projects. David – co-Founder and CPO - is a serial entrepreneur with a product vision centred around optimising the user experience. Shahul (CTO) – started coding when he was 14 and has been involved ever since in multiple start-up success stories, building and leading tech teams. Philipp (CLO resp. Chief Learning Officer) breaths individualised employee learning and development having worked for Germany’s 2nd largest HR consultant advising corporates on their learning and development strategy.

We are delighted to join Peers on its journey.

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