November 18, 2014

Skills Assessment Company Smarterer Acquired for $75 Million

Utah-based Pluralsight today announced that it has acquired Boston-based Smarterer, an innovative skills assessment company, for $75 million.

Dave Balter (CEO) and Mike Kowalchik (CTO) founded Smarterer in 2010 with the mission to allow anyone, anywhere to prove their professional skills through credible verified scores.

Smarterer helps people manage the gap between the skills they have and the skills they need. By leveraging a library of the freshest crowdsourced tests, the company’s dynamic assessment engine can quantify anyone’s skill in as few as 10 questions and 120 seconds.

Earlier this year Smarterer launched Flock, a capability management platform that enables Fortune 500 companies to change as fast as their industries.

Pluralsight, founded in 2004, is the global leader in online learning for professional software developers, IT specialists and creative technologists.

Pluralsight’s acquisition of Smarterer marks the first step toward creating a more advanced and credible industry standard for skills measurement, one by which individuals and enterprises may quantify and authenticate skill sets against current demands to unlock new professional opportunities.

Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight said of the acquisition in a statement:

“The assessment capability Smarterer provides is invaluable in this tech-reliant era, enabling individuals and companies to measure talent and change in pace with their constantly innovating industries. We are excited to fuel Smarterer’s growth and help establish an industry standard for skill assessments and measurement. Smarterer’s distinctive technology paints a clear picture of true skill level, and creates opportunities for more efficient workforce planning and individual self discovery.”


Balter on the acquisition:

“Change is the only constant today. Employment skills are evolving more rapidly than ever. We are thrilled to partner with Pluralsight as the momentum heats up in online learning. Together, we can fast-track Smarterer’s trajectory, providing individuals and employers with assessments tools that serve as a respected barometer for skill measurement.”

Smarterer, who has 585,000 consumer users located around the globe, will continue to operate as an autonomous but aligned company, working with global Fortune 500 companies, education providers, and talent platforms like and Elance, helping people quantify their skills to remain relevant and competitive in their industries.

Smarterer assessments will be incorporated into Pluralsight’s subscription-based learning and development platform, helping individuals and enterprise customers accurately measure learning. While Pluralsight currently offers skills assessments, Smarterer’s technology will provide Pluralsight users with more acute, progressive measurement through adaptive testing and the ability to compare skill mastery with others who have taken the assessment. Test results will be linked to Pluralsight’s course library to create data-driven learning paths, offering specific course suggestions to help learners improve their scores.

The Smarterer Team

Balter previously founded and was CEO of BzzAgent, Inc., a social marketing firm acquired by dunnhumby. Smarterer is his 5th startup. He is also a partner in Boston Seed Capital, an advisor and investor to dozens of startups and sits on the Board of Directors of the Citi Center for the Performing Arts.

Kowalchick was previously co-founder and CTO of, prior to which he worked for several years in the advanced R&D labs of EMC corp. on cutting edge computing hardware and software, and was granted patents on high-speed storage architecture.

In 2012, Sarah Hodges joined Smarterer’s executive team as VP, Marketing & Client Services. Hodges previously led Marketing at RunKeeper and Web Analytics at Carbonite. Hodge also co-founded with Balter.

In October 2014, Larry Israelite joined Smarterer’s Executive Team as SVP, Learning & Assessment. Israelite previously served as the VP, Corporate Learning and Development at Liberty Mutual.

Smarterers has raised $4.6M from investors True Ventures, Google Ventures, Rethink Education and Boston Seed Capital.


Josh Boyle is Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter @jb_sid
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