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Waterloo employee knowledge firm Axonify raises US$27 million through JMI Equity

Waterloo-based corporate learning innovator Axonify has raised US$27 million in growth equity funding, led by new investor JMI Equity, a growth equity firm that specializes in software company investments, with an assist from existing investor BDC Capital through its BDC IT Venture Fund.
Companies and organizations use Axonify’s SaaS platform as an employee engagement tool, incorporating a “microlearning” approach, driving high levels of participation for its clients which now include Walmart, Toyota, Bloomingdale’s, and Johnson & Johnson.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have JMI Equity join our investor group and to have the BDC IT Venture Fund affirm its confidence in our business by investing more,” said Axonify President and CEO Carol Leaman. “JMI has a successful track record of supporting high-growth SaaS companies, and we are excited that they believe in the future of Axonify as much as we do. This growth round will allow us to accelerate our pace of customer acquisition, continue to raise our profile in the market, and extend our platform in ways that will blow away the competition.”
Axonify introduced its Employee Knowledge Platform, which the company describes as a world’s first, last November, to help corporations solve what Axonify calls a “growing employee knowledge crisis” while also cutting the average cost of training per employee by more than $1,600 annually.
“We have been tracking Axonify over the last several years and share in its vision that improved employee knowledge is a critical imperative for enterprises today,” said Matt Emery, a General Partner at JMI Equity. “Customers rave about the ability to drive increased knowledge retention and business outcomes through Axonify’s employee knowledge platform. We look forward to partnering with Carol and her team to help continue Axonify’s market-leading innovation and highly successful customer engagement.”
JMI Equity was founded in 1992, and has invested in over 120 businesses in its target markets, has raised more than $3 billion of committed capital, and successfully completed over 85 exits.
The success of Axonify’s platform signals a move from the established category of eLearning into a broader category of workplace knowledge, supported by the company’s patent-pending Learning Model, which is built on principles of brain science, adaptive learning, gamification and knowledge-on-demand that feeds a spacing algorithm to optimize knowledge growth and retention.
Most companies are using outmoded learning management systems (LMSs) when it comes to employee training, and not investing enough in keeping employees engaged and properly trained over the course of their careers, or are lacking the tools necessary to keep staff up to date with current skills acquisition.
“Axonify is a tremendous success story and we are looking forward to partnering with JMI in contributing to Axonify’s future growth,” indicated Ron Warburton, a managing partner and the investment lead from the BDC IT Venture Fund.
A recent Harvard Business Review column on the book “An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” by Harvard scholars Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey asserts that the kind of companies that are prepared for a complex, high-speed future are also relentless about continuously improving their employees.
As more organizations adopt this approach, Axonify is well positioned to help companies solidly correlate employee knowledge development with the bottom line.

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