Microsoft acquires San Diego-based learning marketplace tech startup TakeLessons

With just nine months into 2021, Microsoft has acquired a total of nine companies, equating to one acquisition per month. Among them are Nuance Communications which Microsoft acquired In April. Others include Kinvolk, RiskIQ, CloudKnox, Peer5, and others.

Now, Microsoft continues its spending spree after it announced on Friday that it has acquired TakeLessons, a San Diego-based tech startup and provider of a marketplace for finding online and local instructors and taking online classes across a wide array of subjects ranging from foreign languages, math, and photography to music, dance, and acting. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The announcement comes just a week after Microsoft acquired Clipchamp, an Australia-based video-editing app startup used by over 17 million registered users worldwide. Clipchamp is an in-browser video creation and editing experience founded in 2013 by Alexander Dreiling, David Hewitt, Soeren Balko, and Tobias Raubwith a mission to empower anyone to tell stories worth sharing.

In a statement, TakeLessons said, “We’re so excited to announce that TakeLessons has been acquired by Microsoft. We believe this will further support TakeLessons’ mission: to empower people to learn, connect, grow, and live more meaningful lives through education.”

Founded in 2006 by Chris Waldron, Drew Davies, Jason Holderness, and Steven Cox, TakeLessons provides a platform where people book paid online and in-person classes on a variety of subjects, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Friday. Its backers include Crosslink Capital, Moore Venture Partners, SoftTech VC, and Triangle Peak Partners.

Microsoft said the acquisition will enable the company to provide opportunities for people to find educational content, and not just in the business realm. The acquisition will also complement LinkedIn, the professional networking platform that also specializes in providing content on leadership, sales, and other business subjects.

“TakeLessons is a unique, trusted online marketplace that connects diverse, qualified, and vetted instructors with students of all ages pursuing their goals,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email. “This acquisition is in response to the growing demand on personalized hybrid opportunities and expands our product offerings to TakeLessons consumers, a leading online learning platform.”


Currently, more than 6% of Microsoft’s revenue comes from LinkedIn. The platform generates a significant portion of its revenue from premium subscriptions that include access to LinkedIn Learning, through which subscribers can complete online courses.

“With the help and grit of the exceptional TakeLessons team, hundreds of millions of people from every corner of the world have visited TakeLessons, and taken many, many million minutes of lessons — learning everything from STEM to Farsi, guitar to horseback riding, parkour, tennis, singing, and yes, even beefing up on Excel macros,” TakeLessons founder and CEO Steven Cox wrote in a LinkedIn post.

The coronavirus pandemic has benefited online learning. Covid “accelerated the market for online learning solutions,” Coursera said earlier this year as it filed to go public. And the number of hours people spent on LinkedIn Learning doubled year over year in the fourth quarter, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told analysts on a conference call in January.


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