Esme Learning, a global leader in online professional development, has acquired Riff Analytics, a collaboration platform that provides AI-powered behavioral analytics, to meet the learning needs of the next generation of business leaders.
The acquisition cements Esme's credibility to help organizations, individuals, and governments adapt to digital transformation necessitated by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The two entities, which serve 1,500 organizations in more than 95 countries, will provide turnkey solutions for higher education, and learning and development departments, according to a press statement.
Founded in 2017, Riff is a collaboration tool that measures conversational dynamics to improve meeting participants' experience and outcomes. Using AI-generated real-time feedback and post-meeting metrics, Riff helps people learn how they are interacting in a small team setting to develop the soft skills and collaboration techniques that underpin all high-functioning groups.
Riff Analytics' mission is to help people become more effective by providing real-time insights about their interactions and collaborations in order to raise self and situational awareness. The company recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to continue its research and development around how feedback and nudges help groups have better online interactions and ultimately perform better on shared tasks.
Commenting on the acquisition, David Shrier, Co-founder of Esme Learning, said,
"E-learning is reshaping the landscape of corporate training and, indeed, digital transformation. With the Riff Analytics acquisition, Esme Learning Solutions is ideally positioned to grow its footprint in the online Higher Education market, which has grown exponentially from US$100 billion in 2009 and is expected to reach over US$370 billion by 2026."
Within Esme, Riff EDU is set to expand the functionalities to include prompts and nudges to drive more collaborative and effective group behaviors.
Riff EDU, embedded at the core of Esme Learning, is a full-suite communication and digital collaboration platform built for the learning environment to better enable student success. Using Riff EDU, students achieved final grades 80% higher than those who did not and were twice as likely to earn a certificate (Riff Analytics, 2021).
Speaking about the platform, Beth Porter, Founder & CEO of Riff Analytics, said,
"Riff is doing groundbreaking work in the area of effective communication and collaboration at work, and creating a platform that fundamentally helps people be more mindful, focused, and purposeful."
With the acquisition, the combined entity of Esme Learning and Riff Analytics, operating as Esme Learning Solutions Inc., will be led by Esme CEO David Shrier and Riff Analytics co-founder and now COO and President of Esme Learning Solutions Beth Porter. Shrier is a globally-recognized thought leader in technology who has created the four most profitable online classes in history. Porter is a former Pearson executive who, as Head of Product for the MIT/Harvard joint venture edX, created and developed the Open edX initiative, an open-source digital learning software used by more than 55 million learners worldwide.
Started in 2019, Esme Learning's courses deliver an immersive and collaborative executive learning experience with some of the best universities in the world. Each course blends high-quality video, live simulations, interactive media, and small group exercises with top learning design principles. Through Esme Learning's rapidly growing portfolio of courses, executives gain technical skills and learn business best practices from experts across a wide range of frontier fields such as fintech, cybersecurity, AI leadership, and health tech.
Boston-based Esme currently works with some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and Imperial College Business School.
Esme Learning had raised $7.5 million earlier this year in a Series A funding round led by Adit Ventures.