Our Thesis for Arist

PeakSpan Capital
6 min readJul 13, 2022

PeakSpan is thrilled to lead Arist’s Series A financing, partnering with the Company to help revolutionize microlearning through bite-sized courses and communications in the flow of work. Arist helps teams offer training for wherever learners already spend their time through native integrations with SMS, Slack, Teams, and WhatsApp. The frictionless, easy-to-use, and novel platform has allowed its customers, including blue-chip enterprises such as Microsoft, Lennar, Ernst & Young, SAP and LinkedIn, to drive and track clear business outcomes and performance improvements across their workforce. We are so privileged to lock arms with this team on their journey to offering an innovative, purpose-built approach to learning with best-in-class service.

Arist was founded in 2019 by Michael Ioffe, Ryan Laverty, and Maxine Anderson with the original mission of delivering entrepreneurship courses to high school students in the Yemeni conflict zone where there was limited access to high-speed internet or cell phone service. After several text-message conversations with Yemeni students, the founding team asked a crazy question, “Why not teach using text messages?” This mission of “bringing learning to the people” has helped teams worldwide address the business and learning challenges of today with speed and agility, leading to better data and better outcomes.

Learning in the Flow of Work: Why it Matters

The PeakSpan team has been focused on the recent tailwinds across learning and development as culture shifts emerge (“The Great Resignation”) and corporate training engagement rates decrease. We have kept our ear to the ground for the most recent trends in the L&D space, and what has become clear is that employees want to learn, but they want the learning to come to them.

Think about the last time you had to complete a routine training for work — or, better yet, a training that was required to get promoted. We will take a wild guess and say that you likely had to stop whatever you were doing, create an account on a separate mobile website, create a new password because you forgot yours from last year, receive an email to re-register, log back in, and sit through a 1–3 hour training. And after all the effort it took to get the training done, chances are that if you were quizzed on the material two weeks later, you wouldn’t perform particularly well. For the majority of you, this situation seems all too familiar. On the other hand, Arist engages with learners through standalone courses (typically one 5-minute lesson / day for 5–20 days), reinforcement (bite-sized knowledge delivered over time), and knowledge banks (on-demand knowledge for those who are hungry for more). All courses employ the “spaced learning” method — meaning you will not have to sit through another tedious training and will likely retain the information that is fed to you in the long run, meeting you wherever you are instead of taking 3 hours out of your day. No new passwords, no app downloads, and little to no lost productivity.

Arist offers a clear ROI as it saves an average of $200/employee/year. Managers can launch courses in under 5 days, versus ~2 months for comparable solutions and build off of 50+ pre-built course templates. Topic areas include management development and leadership, safety and compliance, DEI, sales enablement, and onboarding / reboarding / reskilling. Powerful analytics dashboards let administrators measure what matters — namely completion, progress, and engagement rates (which are 5x higher than those of conventional video courses). From 7+ clicks to get content and one-time experiences that result in limited change, to 1-click access to learning that actually shifts behavior, L&D leaders everywhere can now invest in and empower their employees with minimal effort.

Our Thesis for Arist

Effective corporate training has never been more critical to the success of an organization than it is today, but current offerings such as LMS, mobile apps, and video e-learning systems suffer from low NPS scores despite the criticality of these solutions. Moreover, conventional LMS platforms break employees’ flow of work and force them to log into external applications (LXPs, mobile apps, etc.) to learn, significantly limiting adoption and inhibiting long-term behavior change. Arist is helping address corporate training’s four main challenges today: great content but limited delivery options, inaccessible modalities for busy or deskless employees, expensive infrastructure and complex development processes to “care and feed” learning programs, and little real-time visibility into outcomes. Arist’s innovative approach to learning, by contrast, includes continuous engagement with 1-click access to purpose-built content that meets learners where they are (i.e. on platforms like Slack, Teams, WhatsApp, and SMS). By harnessing the tools employees use every day, Arist offers a delightful experience for the employee but also dramatically increases ROI for L&D teams that are tasked with improving learning outcomes. As the modern learner and working professional look for solutions that are: 1) better suited for their work, 2) enjoyable and low-friction, and 3) purpose-built and results-driven, predecessor approaches frequently fall short. Arist’s disruptive authoring solution helps enterprises create and deliver courses at a fraction of the cost and time of alternatives.

Arist is not only built for scale, but it is accompanied by white-glove support that includes free workshops, course editing, and executive strategy sessions. The transformative platform represents a differentiated and highly strategic value proposition with its seamless implementation process and ability to deploy across multiple use cases — especially as change management becomes paramount. With continued execution, Arist has the potential to become a product segment leader within the global L&D market.

Key Market Drivers

Importance of Skills

  • 72% of L&D professionals are focused on skills for their programs in 2022
  • Qualitative feedback from employees via online courses was voted as the best way to impact skill-building programs at the organization
  • Employees who feel their skills are not used effectively are 10x more likely to leave
  • Employees who feel their skills are not used effectively are 10x more likely to leave
  • 54% of L&D professionals say that internal mobility is a higher priority in the last 3 years

Need for Purpose-Built, Bite-Sized Content

  • Qualitative feedback from employees using online courses is the #1 way to measure the impact of programs[1]
  • Bite-sized content and spaced learning can increase knowledge retention by over 50%[2]
  • 47% of learning leaders would funnel new resources to reinforcing learning[3]
  • Shift away from “less is more” and heading towards “more is better” causes increased amounts of friction and lower employee engagement

Market Alternatives

  • LMS / LXP course creation can take over 40 hours to develop and thousands of hours to implement
  • LMS vendors break the flow of employee work, causing friction in the learning process
  • Current solutions often cost thousands of dollars and still generate low engagement rates
  • LMS providers are often tied to a fixed delivery modality

L&D Trends

  • L&D leaders are now twice as likely to have a seat at the C-suite table than they were pre-pandemic
  • 72% of L&D leaders agree that L&D has become more cross-functional
  • Demand for L&D specialists increased 94% from July-Sept 2021 when compared with Apr-Jun 2021
  • 51% of L&D pros in the U.S. believe their spending power has reached a six-year high

Arist has gained impressive traction within the world’s largest enterprises by transforming their approach to learning. PeakSpan is looking forward to helping Arist make learning any skill as accessible, enjoyable, and seamless as a message a day. To read more about their thoughts on the future of learning, click here. To learn more about PeakSpan’s experience and leadership in the HCM space, please click here.

[1] LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2022

[2] Learning by Degrees, Harvard Magazine 2009

[3] Ken Blanchard L&D Report



PeakSpan Capital

We are a leading growth stage investment firm partnering exclusively with disruptive B2B software companies.