Is GeoLearning the next to go?

Contact: Brenon Daly

While the employment market may still be sluggish, the market for software that helps companies with their employees is bustling. We recently noted that both the number of deals and spending in the human capital management (HCM) market so far this year is rivaling the records set when the overall M&A market was much healthier. Add to that, there’s even an HCM vendor that’s eyeing the other exit: Cornerstone OnDemand filed to go public two weeks ago, one of the few tech companies that’s willing to brave the chilly IPO market.

As to what’s the next likely deal in the HCM market, recent indications have pointed toward a sale of GeoLearning. (We understand that the Des Moines, Iowa-based company has retained Raymond James & Associates to advise it on a process.) Founded in 1997 by current CEO Frank Russell, GeoLearning sells its learning management software (LMS) through both a hosted and on-demand model to more than 700 customers. In February 2008, GeoLearning took in its first and only institutional money – a $31m investment from Volition Capital, which was known as Fidelity Ventures at the time.

A little more than a month ago, fellow LMS startup got snapped up by Taleo for $125m. Sources have indicated that ADP may have been the initial bidder for, looking to add to the half-dozen HCM acquisitions the services giant has already done. We would expect ADP to at least look closely at GeoLearning. But from our perspective, the more likely acquirer for GeoLearning is SuccessFactors. The two companies have had an integrated offering on the market for more than four years, and continue as close partners. We gather that GeoLearning is slightly larger than, which was running at about $30m in sales.