Pathgather Raises Looks To Bring Social Networking To Learning Management

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Companies feeling they aren’t getting enough out of their learning management systems now have a new tool that may help with the recent financing and launch of Pathgather.

In the learning management space roughly 61% of companies that use services are looking to change them, according to Eric Duffy, Pathgather’s chief executive officer.

“I got started on this on the consumer business side,” says Duffy. “When i started i didn’t know what an LMS was.” The idea was to find the best learning on the web. like a Kayak of learning, and keep track of what you’re learning a la LinkedIn, and do it in a social context like Facebook.”

The company’s aim, according to Duffy, is to allow people to get more out of what they learn online. Initially the company put up a demo of how its software would work to enhance learning in a social context, but as soon as a Qualcomm executive saw the software, they wanted to bring it in-house.

Duffy, the company’s 26-year-old chief executive actually met the 28-year-old chief technology officer Jamie Davidson through a mutual friend of Duffy’s from his alma mater of Washington University. Duffy, who was at Carnegie Mellon at the time, was working on developing this tool to highlight the best online curriculum and establish a collaborative framework for students to learn together.

It’s this vision that’s become the core of Pathgather and managed to attract $1.5 million in early stage funding from investors like Bloomberg Beta, Contour Ventures, and TechStars to the company’s capital table.

The company allows students enrolled in professional development programs o create learning paths, so that they can follow a specific route for their personal and professional advancement.

“After graduating Wash U I spent some time doing a fellowship in China in Guangzhou,” Duffy says. “And then I did an entrepreneurial program in South Africa — in a village with 2,000 to 3,000 people. — called ThinkImpact.“

During his time at the village one of the things that struck Duffy was that the village had gotten electricity six years before he arrived, but Udacity had come out a month before his travels. All the village could talk about was that the community finally had the opportunity to take classes,  Duffy says.

“That’s when I got the idea to find the best learning on the web. And make an app like a Kayak of learning, that would keep track of what you’re learning a la LinkedIn, and do it in a social context like Facebook,” Duffy says.

Source: Techcrunch 24 November 2014