Go1: Implementing Corporate Learning Courses, Everywhere
This story follows four different people, with four different backgrounds, who managed to pull together, rise from the shadows together, and dominate a specific niche as one! For the Australian entrepreneurs Vu Tran, Andrew Barnes, Chris Eigeland, and Chris Hood, the life journey was nothing-out-of-the-ordinary.
It wasn't until Vu realized that working a mere mortal job didn't fulfill him, so step by step incepted the thought within the other three intellectuals.
Although all of them were immersed in four different specialties, one thing connected them all – learning!
With this in mind, they all headed to solve a significant gap within the corporate industry. The idea was to help companies support their teams with personal development, and enable online training programs for their staff.
With their online library of numerous online courses, the four entrepreneurs pioneered an easy and effortless way for employees to upgrade their skills from home. Want to know more about their story?
Different Passions, Same Ambitions
Vu Tran is a child of Vietnamese refugees that migrated to Australia in the early eighties. Luckily, Vu was born almost a decade later as an Australian citizen.
During the years before Vu’s birth, his parents had already set up their own small businesses – his father owning a shop, whereas his mother a sewing business for curtains. While observing his diligent parents working around the clock to afford a modest life for their three children, Vu's ambition secretly began to grow.
Come 2002, the young intellectual enrolled in a day school in Queensland, Cannon Hill Anglican College, to satisfy his sparking curiosity about every subject. During his studies at CHAC, he met with Andrew, and they immediately hit it off.
Vu saw great potential within Andrew and suggested something that would bring them a step closer to a golden opportunity - creating websites for companies! During this period, giant companies such as Facebook did not exist, and for other students who worked mere mortal jobs, the idea seemed dull. Well, not for Andrew.
Gladly accepting, they initiated their creation of the first website with a content management system for a company called Local Labor, which ultimately bought their website for AU$500. By visiting companies door to door, they managed to sell other websites and save a small fortune to pay off their university fees.
Eventually, the two fellows embarked on separate journeys before they were ripe enough to merge their potentials.
So, in 2007 Vu felt the need to follow in his older sibling's steps and continued his studies in medicine at Bond University while Andrew enrolled at the University of Queensland to pursue his economics degree.
Graduating with flying colors in 2011, both of them set out to find stability before their paths crossed.
His entrepreneurial passion aside, Vu spent the next few years working as a medical doctor at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. Immersing in internal medicine, adult emergency, psychiatry, and cardiology the young doctor realized he wasn’t born to work a nine-to-five job but do something at scale.
Meanwhile, Andrew began his journey as a director in Epilepsy Queensland, a company that ensured people living with epilepsy not go alone through the painful process. His position required developing programs that taught people everything about the disease.
Reaching out to his childhood friend around 2015, Vu suggested to Andrew for them to gather their forces and build something of value. As too many cooks make a lavish and rich buffet, they knew they were missing another cook to help them with their venture.
And who could be better than the founder of The Schoolbag, a company that enabled children stricken by Haiti’s earthquake to follow their dreams by providing basic school supplies?
This is where Chris comes into action. Calling him to put forward an innovative proposition, Vu and Andrew did their second stride towards success.
One phone call later, the trio decided to meet and brainstorm the concept for their enterprise-to-be. The result from their brainstorming was the enlightenment followed by a thunder – to create something that would combine their three passions!
Although they all had different backgrounds, one thing connected them all, the love for learning.
So, why not create a platform that could allow people to learn from the comfort of their homes?
When Passion Turns into Career
After meeting up in a small garage, the trio concluded that it was time to find the last cook before they start building their platform. After realizing that only one specialty was missing, Chris, Vu, and Andrew agreed to contact Chris Hood, a major in computer systems microelectronics at Griffith University. Up until the call, Chris was immersed in his job as CTO at GoCatalyze. However, at the exact moment he heard the offer, he could not refuse it.
Merging their four specialties together, they began working day in and day out. The idea was to create a subscription platform that would help businesses provide online training for their staff from a wide range of sources.
After several months of hard work, the four companions set their foot into the world of investors to find someone that would back up their business. Showcasing their plan to digitize learning to Y-Combinator, the accelerator provided the seed round to help Chris, Andrew, Vu, and Chris Hood rise from the shadows.
Warmly welcoming the investment, the four entrepreneurs-to-be began their quest for employees that would help them create online courses for their platform. A few months later, in 2015, they launched Go1 with over two hundred courses on it. Although they had a slow start, clients began joining the platform, thus motivating the Go1 leaders to implement additional courses – and so they did!
With aspirations to grow their company, the four entrepreneurs began listening to different podcasts they hoped would help them achieve their goal. The Go1 team even sent out handwritten emails to lure potential clients.
The effort paid off, and they saw an increase in users. After reaching a decent number of customers in their country, they realized that to comply with the law they needed a legal team. Unfortunately, they were
tight with funds, so the four entrepreneurs contacted many investors to help them solve the drawback. However, global angels wanted them to move their company from Australia, and the founders wanted to stay put. Eventually, an Australian recruitment giant Seek, saw Vu, Andrew, Chris, and Chris Hood’s work and poured AU$10 million to help them solve their problem and take the company globally.
Playing on the safe side, each of the four co-founders visited the most influential country globally, the USA, for two weeks in a row to understand their market. Within one year in 2018, they learned all the ins and outs they could and employed a fantastic team of salespeople to lead their expansion.
To aid Go1’s additional expansion Madrona Venture Group, Seek, and M12 secured AU70 million.
Now the ball started rolling for the four co-founders, getting their clients around the USA the growth exploded swiftly. From then on, it was easier than ever to acquire customers around the whole world.
Today, Go1’s headquarters location is in Brisbane, Australia because the four co- founders decided to acquire the best Australian talent instead of competing with giant companies as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Go1 serves as the epicenter of the learning earthquake, swiftly spreading around the world to deliver learning content developed from third parties to end organizations. With over seven thousand courses, the company empowers other companies’ workforce with corporate knowledge.
Ranked sixth among its tenth competitors, Go1 makes over $600 million in annual revenue.
As Vu, Andrew, Chris, and Chris Hood metamorphosed from small fish into sharks in the big ocean of entrepreneurs, they proved that hard work does pay off!