Aligned with some major growth plans, New York-based ExecOnline closed a $45 million Series D funding round.
Co-founded in 2012 by Stephen Bailey, Mark Ozer, Barry Goldberg, and Julia Alexander, ExecOnline provides executive education programs and training solutions certified by educational institutions. The company partners with business schools around the world to bring democratized access to leadership development at large companies.
“We feel like we have a differentiated and compelling story having pioneered this space,” The company’s CEO Bailey told AfroTech in an interview. “We hopefully want to create awareness that there is a new way to develop leaders that can create much more equity outcomes at organizations.”
This latest funding round was led by OMERS Growth Equity with participation from previous investors including Kaplan, Osage Ventures, NewSpring and ABS Capital Partners. ExecOnline plans to use the Series D to further develop its online platform, expand its enterprise salesforce and marketing. With a team of just under 200 employees, Bailey said the company plans on growing their team even more as a result of this fresh funding.
This isn’t Bailey’s first time leading a startup. The Black executive was formerly a part of the team that founded Frontier Strategy Group (FSG), an information and advisory services firm focused on emerging market’s business intelligence. He led that company as CEO from 2006 to 2011 before launching his current venture.
“I got a chance to understand corporate enterprise at a global level, and particularly some of the leadership challenges both in terms of capabilities and diversity gaps,” Bailey said about his experience at FSG. “That motivated me to start ExecOnline.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Bailey has been running ExecOnline from New York. While he’s been excelling in the entrepreneurial sector, leading tech startups was not his original professional plan.
“I’m a recovering lawyer,” Bailey said. “I kind of quickly discovered that law probably wasn’t where I was going to plant my flag longterm, so I pivoted to entrepreneurship after a couple of years at a big firm.”
At the leadership level, Bailey said there is a real opportunity for companies to move toward inclusion right now, so making virtual learning resources more available is top of mind for ExecOnline. The company’s leadership development tools span from first day managers to c-suite executives.
ExecOnline has raised nearly $90 million in venture capital since its inception and has worked with corporate leaders at over 500 global organizations. Beyond the money, Bailey said the partnerships that ExecOnline has formed with its investors have been critical to the company’s success. At the highest level, ExecOnline’s mission is to power the future of work, so the company is thinking about how organizations will need help adapting their business models coming out of the pandemic and beyond.
“New hybrid work models are kind of the place where most organizations are landing,” Bailey said. “Our number one goal is to be a tool that helps organizations power that future of work within their companies and really use it as an opportunity to improve equitable access to leadership.”