Summary:

Pluralsight, an online developer training platform, has acquired TrainSignal, a more than 10-year-old company that offers web-based classes for IT professionals.

online learning
photo: mtkang

Developer training platform Pluralsight is in a buying mood. Just two weeks ago, the startup bought video tutorial site PeepCode. And, now, it’s opened up its checkbook again to purchase TrainSignal, a Chicago-based company that offers online courses for IT professionals.

The company said the $23.6 million cash and stock deal marks a strategic change in its market: instead of just focusing on developers, it’s turning its attention to the IT side as well.

“This is a one-stop-shop for the CTO and CIO,” said Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard. “This doubles our market size.”

For more than a decade, TrainSignal has developed training materials that help IT professionals use and support all kinds of services, from Microsoft Excel to VMware data recovery tools.  Earlier this year, the company moved away from old-school DVDs to a Netflix-style subscription service.

As we’ve covered before, plenty of startups offer online courses for learning programming and IT skills, from veteran sites like lynda.com to newer sites like Codecademy, Udemy and Treehouse. But, Skonnard said, with the TrainSignal acquisition, Pluralsight will offer a comprehensive library that can equally serve longtime professionals and beginners in both programming and IT. And that could make the site an appealing choice for enterprise clients that want an easy and cheaper way to provide professional development to employees.

The acquisition will significantly increase the size of the company’s headcount, library and user base. Skonnard said his 50-person company would add 35 people in Chicago through TrainSignal and that its content selection would nearly double to about 1,200 titles. With the purchase, the company will also increase its number of individual users by 33 percent (to 400,000) and boost its number of corporate memberships by 50 percent (to 4,500).

Earlier this year, Pluralsight accepted $27.5 million in its first round of outside funding.  At the time, the company said part of the money would go toward expanding its online catalog of content – now we know that content production also meant acquisition.

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