Fuse takes Fidelity funding to expand its bite-sized learning system

LONDON (Reuters) - Fuse Universal, a learning management platform which companies use to train employees on phones and computers, has raised $20 million in expansion funding from Eight Roads Ventures, Fidelity International’s venture arm, the company said on Wednesday.

Fuse has sought to reinvent how corporate learning management systems work by enabling employees to view short, bite-sized training clips online or offline, on their smartphones or tablet devices, or from their desks.

The Fuse system is used by more than 100 companies for employee training, including Merck, EY, International Hotel Group, Spotify SPOT.N and Vodafone VOD.L. It works as a standalone learning management system or as an overlay to older learning platforms.

Vodafone says 50 percent of its UK retail workforce using the system viewed Fuse short courses outside of working hours, with peak usage occurring while traveling to and from work.

While breaking with the formal text and graphic presentations common to traditional knowledge-sharing systems that are designed for learning administrators but receive low scores for employee engagement, Fuse also supplies analytics to ensure compliance targets are met, a major selling point.

The company ranks as one of Europe’s leading next-generation learning platforms, according to a recent survey of dozens of regional and global players in the learning management systems industry by human resources consulting research firm Fosway Group.

Eight Road Ventures said the funding will allow Fuse to expand to reach its increasingly global customer base. It will also allow the firm to invest in educational technology, including machine learning and augmented reality.

Michael Treskow, a partner at Eight Roads Ventures, will join the Fuse board.

The 10-year-old London-based Fuse took $10 million (7.4 million pounds) in private equity funding in 2015.

Chief Executive Steve Dineen, a veteran of the corporate training field, built and sold Fuel, his previous learning management firm, in 2007, before founding Fuse.

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London, editing by Louise Heavens