“The day an 18 year old planning his career downloads Tigerhall instead of completing an application at a university is the day my job here ends,” said Nellie Wartoft, founder and CEO of Singapore resident social learning app. Tigerhall, a two year old start-up that has already signed contracts with some of the world’s most famous companies, opens its doors in the US today and Wartoft is committed to ridding the world of “useless MBA courses”. ”
It is an aggressive business conversation based on Wartoft’s personal experience. At the age of 18, she left her hometown in Sweden and bought a one-way ticket to Singapore with the aim of embarking on a business career. But these ambitions were foiled for many years; Wartoft felt herself being neglected by her university studies, and when she left her studies she lacked both the skills she believed necessary and access to a network of contacts and mentors who could help her acquire them.
Plus, she worked in the recruiting industry in the years after graduation and saw more and more people hold back from the same problems. “Time and again, I saw candidates struggling to get dream jobs because they didn’t have the skills from their investment in education,” she recalls.
At the same time, Wartoft was also appalled by the quality of the training materials that many companies made available for their employees. “You expected to watch endless videos, all moderated by white-haired old men who had no experience of what they were talking about – they had never led a team.”
In 2019, Wartoft launched Tigerhall on the principle that you have a unique opportunity when no one else offers what the market really needs. She describes it as social learning – it’s an app-based platform that allows subscribers to access bite-sized content from recognized experts in their field. The platform currently offers around 1,300 examples of this content, including podcasts, live streams, videos and “power reads”; Everything comes from professionals with real experience, whom Wartoft calls “think influencers”.
The idea is to deliver the kind of content that people are used to in other areas of their digital life. Subscribers can watch this short content of an average of 15 minutes when it suits them – for example while waiting for the bus, washing the dishes or jogging.
This is the type of content – Wartoft calls it “micro-moments” – that will be familiar to anyone using TikTok or similar social media platforms. Competing learning resources require users to log in for hours and take long courses, emphasizes Wartoft. She believes that consuming much shorter forms of content is a much better approach. Tigerhall users seem to agree – Wartoft cites figures that suggest the average user needs 43 minutes a week to study on their platform, almost twice the time the average professional spends doing this.
It helps that Tigerhall has some big names among its think influencers. The experts who provided content include Ted Osius, former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and Vice President of Public Policy at Google, Zarina Lam Stanford, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at Rackspace Technology, and Roger Fisk, a long-time employee of the former US President Barack Obama.
Tigerhall’s business model is initially aimed at companies that want to offer their employees a better learning experience. Companies pay monthly subscription fees to access the service, which vary based on the number of employees they want to enroll. The company’s executives can then personalize learning plans for their employees and, for example, refer employees to content on leadership, digital transformation or sales, depending on their needs and knowledge gaps. Managers can also monitor their employees’ progress.
This idea seems to be resonating with leading companies. Revenue has increased tenfold in the last 12 months, with leading customers now including Spotify, HP and Cisco. The company has also raised more than $ 3 million in investments from a group led by Sequoia Capital.
Expanding into the US, including getting people to be present and targeting US experts to create more content, will increase Tigerhall’s reach, Wartoft believes. And over time, she sees that it’s more of a business-to-consumer model, with individuals subscribing to themselves rather than accessing the platform through their companies. It’s the kind of resource she badly needed and missed early in her career. “Where you’re from should never get in the way of going – and success in today’s competitive business landscape depends on knowledge sharing and community support,” she argues.
It is certainly a bold vision. “What we are seeing today in the professional development space is a sad state of affairs: consumer behavior and good business practices have evolved tremendously lately, but most of the tools provided are uninteresting, uninspiring, and offer more yawns than Eureka moments. “There is Wartoft. “We want to make social learning the standard method of learning and ensure that traditional corporate learning programs become obsolete.”