Talespin | April 30, 2021
Talespin Reality Labs, Inc., a spatial computing firm focusing on employee knowledge transfer and capabilities insights, announced today the extension of its off-the-shelf learning content library as well as desktop content streaming functionality for its app. Talespin expands the library of digital soft skills learning resources with new 'Recognizing Bias' and 'Practicing Self-Awareness' content titles in this update. The learning modules, which were previously only available on extended reality (XR) platforms, can now be streamed via web browsers on desktop devices, lowering the barrier to entry for immersive learning.
The new content and streaming capabilities arrive at a time when individuals and businesses need adaptable learning resources capable of successful upskilling and reskilling. According to the Congressional Research Service, unemployment hit a 70-year peak of 14.8% in April 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2021, Pew Research discovered that 66% of unemployed adults had considered changing their career or area of employment, highlighting the need for more agile reskilling and knowledge insights solutions to guide professional growth.
Talespin has established itself as a leader in skills-based immersive learning, amassing a library of training material covering key leadership and communication skills usage cases. By extending its social impact acceleration relationship with JFFLabs, an innovative market-facing unit of JFF, a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems, the organization is aggressively targeting new audiences with its content offering and desktop streaming support. JFFLabs, in collaboration with SAP, is using Talespin's new training approach to engage high school-age learners from three areas, including Queens, New York, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Hammond, Louisiana in Southeastern Louisiana. The eight-week program offers high school students a one-of-a-kind comprehensive learning experience to learn employability skills while increasing student interest in and persistence toward educational and career goals.
New Desktop Content Streaming Support
Talespin's desktop streaming technology allows users to access emotionally authentic immersive learning content on Mac and PC devices through a protected website connection, increasing user accessibility. Talespin's content streaming technology employs sophisticated augmented human simulations, conversational interfaces, and voice feedback to provide a degree of consistency and user experience that exceeds that of conventional role play or remote learning solutions such as e-learning and video. Employees can use this experience anywhere to replicate training scenarios in a comfortable environment where they can fail and learn without being judged.
Talespin is developing a spatial computing platform to support talent growth and skill mobility in the workplace of the future. The business, which was founded in 2015, uses its proprietary XR technology platform to include XR-based learning and training applications, virtual reality field solutions to support employee job success, and a new skills-based approach to work and productivity. Talespin, which has offices in Los Angeles and Utrecht, The Netherlands, is constructing a future of employment in which the gap between learning and execution is bridged, allowing people to choose new career paths that address the needs of both firms and individuals.
Texthelp | January 11, 2022
Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, today announced that they will acquire the Education Technology Division of Don Johnston Inc., a leading assistive technology and special education curriculum company based outside of Chicago, IL. Don Johnston Inc. is the latest Assistive Technology provider to join the Texthelp Group. Following Five Arrows' investment in December 2020, Texthelp acquired Lingit Group and Wizkids in 2021, expanding the company's reach in the Nordics and the UK. Texthelp's goal is to use its assistive technology to help 1 billion people with reading, writing, and numeracy by 2030. Together with Don Johnston Inc.'s leading SaaS-based products, the Texthelp Group will become the global leader in assistive technology tools for classrooms and workplaces. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
One in ten people have dyslexia, and in the US, 12% of students are in special education, 15% of children at school are learning their 2nd language, and the average reading age is 7th to 8th grade. Using assistive tools has been proven to help students overcome these barriers and harness their unique strengths. Both Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. have made it their mission to support equality and inclusion of all people, especially individuals with dyslexia and other learning needs. Together, Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will continue to offer their full suite of products, and customers will see the benefit of collaborative technology innovation between the companies within the first few weeks. Don Johnston Inc.'s curriculum division will form a new company, named Building Wings™, which includes the products Readtopia® and First Author®.
"Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. share a common vision of a world where every student can feel what it is like to learn and succeed. Don and I founded our organizations for deeply personal reasons. We have an incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them both understand and be understood. We are so excited to have Don Johnston Inc. join the Texthelp Group, and to have Don as an investor and board member. Our combined teams and expanded portfolio of products will allow us to give millions more students in the US and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available."
Martin McKay, CEO and founder of Texthelp
For more than 40 years, Don Johnston Inc. has developed technology tools and curriculum that have helped students and educators build literacy skills. The company's support and accessible technology is designed to accommodate children and adults with special needs and learning disabilities. Since its inception, Don Johnston Inc. has helped over 32,000 schools through technologies, implementation, and personal connections.
"Don Johnston Inc. and Texthelp have worked in parallel in the edtech sector for decades. We share so many commonalities," said Don Johnston, CEO of Don Johnston Inc. "Fundamentally, we are both unified by a mission to help as many students as possible learn and succeed. I strongly believe that together we can achieve more, and I am excited to see what the future holds. My new role on the board of the Texthelp Group will allow me to continue to drive forward our shared vision. This is also an opportunity for our curriculum tools to forge their own path as a new organization, Building Wings. I am passionate about the role curriculum has to play in helping students, and I will maintain a leadership position with Building Wings as CEO."
Texthelp and Don Johnston Inc. will work together to expand product innovation and help many more people fulfill their potential, beginning in classrooms and extending through to the workplace. The two organizations will combine their teams and products to create the best technology available to students, educators, and employees. Texthelp will add Don Johnston's Snap&Read™, Co:Writer®, Word Bank™, Quizbot® and uPAR™ tools to its suite of products and all employees of Don Johnston's Education Technology Division will become Texthelp employees.
Founded in 1996, the Texthelp Group is a global technology company. On a daily basis, it helps people all over the world to understand and to be understood. For the last three decades, it has led the way in creating innovative education and workplace technology. Texthelp believes in a world where difference, disability, or language are no longer barriers. It is focused on helping all people learn, understand, and communicate through the use of digital literacy and accessibility software. With over 50 million users worldwide, the Texthelp suite of products includes Read&Write, EquatIO®, WriQ®, Fluency Tutor®, ReachDeck®, and SpeechStream®. These tools work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G-suite. This allows for its products to be quickly integrated into any classroom or workplace with ease. Visit www.texthelp.com for more information.
About Don Johnston Inc.
Since 1980, Don Johnston Inc. has been a staple of the accessibility community, partnering with literacy experts, AT specialists, SLPs, OTs, and special education directors to develop popular assistive and evaluative tools including Co:Writer®, Snap&Read™, uPAR®, Word Bank™ and Quizbot®. Students across North America with dyslexia, autism, dysgraphia, and other diverse learning challenges rely on Don Johnston Inc. assistive tools every day to accommodate their learning needs in schools and at home. Education isn't the end of the transformation, it's only the beginning. Don Johnston Inc. tools open up possibilities right through the education journey and into the workplace. Visit https://learningtools.donjohnston.com/ for more information.
About Five Arrows
Five Arrows Principal Investments (FAPI) and Five Arrows Capital Partners (FACP) (together, "Five Arrows") are the European and US corporate private equity arms, respectively, of Rothschild & Co's Merchant Banking business. Five Arrows is focused on investing in middle-market companies with highly defensible market positions; strong management teams; business models with high visibility of organic unit volume growth and strong free cash flow conversion; and multiple operational levers that can be used to unlock latent value. The sector focus at Five Arrows is limited to healthcare, data & software and technology-enabled business services.
CORPORATE LEARNING SYSTEMS
Udemy | December 07, 2021
In a move to empower customers across the African continent with impactful and functional skills, Udemy, a global leader in online learning, is partnering with MultiChoice Group, Africa’s leading entertainment provider, to provide access to thousands of high-quality courses to enable MultiChoice customers to invest in their personal and professional development.
The Udemy marketplace, with thousands of up-to-date courses in dozens of languages, provides the tools learners, instructors, and enterprises need to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Millions of people learn on Udemy from real-world experts on topics ranging from programming and data science, to team building, learning a new language, and business leadership.
For years, MultiChoice’s DStv and GOtv platforms have provided viewers with world-class edutainment, with content catering to personal growth for all ages. In addition to sports, local programming, news and general entertainment, MultiChoice customers can access educational content on Discovery, Nat Geo Wild, History Channel, DaVinci Kids, BBC and more.
While their respective platforms are distinct, MultiChoice and Udemy have a shared mission of providing a vast range of accessible content that enriches the lives of a broad audience with diverse interests and needs. This fitting collaboration will serve all of MultiChoice’s customers, particularly those with a passion for learning.
“As a global learning platform, our mission is to provide access and create new opportunities for learners around the world, across a wide range of content areas and at all levels of expertise. MultiChoice has a long history of prioritizing learning, and we’re proud to be working with them to unlock new possibilities for learners across the continent.”
Llibert Argerich, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Udemy
“We’re very excited to partner with an innovative and purposeful platform like Udemy, especially as the world shifts to an online learning future,” says Fhulufhelo Badugela, Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice Africa. “We are constantly seeking ways to enrich and progress the lives of our valued customers and tapping into learning and development is a natural next step. Investing in the future of our continent is a top priority and we are proud to be able to collaborate with another platform that values the accessible advancement of our customers as much as we do.”
MultiChoice’s DStv and GOtv customers can begin their learning journey by registering and enrolling in affordable courses that suit their learning requirements.
Udemy's mission is to create new possibilities for people and organizations everywhere by connecting them to the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a changing world. The Udemy marketplace platform, with thousands of up-to-date courses in dozens of languages, provides the tools learners, instructors, and enterprises need to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Millions of people learn on Udemy from real-world experts in topics ranging from programming and data science to leadership and team building. For companies, Udemy Business offers an employee training and development platform with subscription access to thousands of courses, learning analytics, and the ability to host and distribute their own content. Udemy Business customers include Glassdoor, On24, The World Bank, and Volkswagen. Udemy is headquartered in San Francisco with hubs in Ankara, Turkey; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Mountain View, California; Denver, Colorado; Dublin, Ireland; Melbourne, Australia; New Delhi, India; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
About MultiChoice Group
MultiChoice Group (MCG), which listed in the Main Board of the JSE on 27 February 2019, is one of the fastest-growing video entertainment providers globally, delivering entertainment products and services to 20.1m households across 50 countries on the African continent. Its track record of more than 30 years is reflective of a commitment to provide audiences with only the best local, sport and international content. MCG’s strong partnerships with distributors, installers and telecommunication companies, along with its well-established payment solutions, competitive pricing and choice of viewership packages continue to secure its place in the global market, while also providing solutions unique to the African market. Its direct-to-home (DTH), digital terrestrial television (DTT) and over-the-top (OTT) solutions enable the business to stay relevant and aligned to changing consumer habits while capturing new markets.
Content is at the very core of the business. MCG aims to deliver quality content anywhere, anytime and on any device through a comprehensive video entertainment offering at different price points. As pioneers in African video entertainment, MCG plays an important role in making information and entertainment easily accessible to Africans. MCG aims to secure content rights in a manner that is cost-effective and reflective of the diversity of its audiences. Its substantial portfolio includes award-winning local content (a key differentiator in its service offering), a leading sports offering (including production capabilities) and access to international content, which is all shared on the group’s platforms: DStv, GOtv, Showmax, M-Net and SuperSport.
MCG has superior technology capability through the security solutions that Irdeto, its technology company, brings to the group. These solutions enable MultiChoice to protect its investment, create new offerings and combat cybercrime. With 50 years’ expertise in software security, Irdeto’s software security solutions and cyber services protect over 5bn devices and applications for some of the world’s best brands.