How remote learning helped Splashtop become latest unicorn
San Jose, California-based Splashtop has become the latest entrant into the hallowed halls of the tech unicorn (a startup worth over $1bn).
The remote access and support firm has raised across five rounds since its 2006 foundation. Its latest saw the company receive $50mn from lead investor Sapphire Ventures, alongside Storm Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and DFJ DragonFund.
Demand for remote education
While not only a provider to education institutions (its customers include 85% of the Fortune 500 including Disney, FedEx and Totoyta), the company said that it was seeing strong demand for remote schooling - particularly in Europe, where it increased its customer numbers ten times between the second and fourth quarter of 2020.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote access imperative in many situations, including the ability for students and faculty to use on-campus computer lab resources even when school facilities are closed," , Splashtop's general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
"Throughout Europe, and especially in the UK, France and Germany, we've seen a rapid escalation of demand for our remote access solution for computer labs, driven largely by word-of-mouth recommendations from one school to another."
Remote access vital during COVID-19
The company offers a solution to the problem that comes from being physically separated from the powerful computers necessary to operate specialist software like the Adobe Creative Suite, various computer-aided design solutions or 3D modelling software. Its solutions duly allows anyone to use their own devices to access these resources remotely - useful for both remote learning and working.
"Our sustained profitability and growth—which accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic—validate that Splashtop's next generation remote access solution is making a real difference in how, where and when people can use the digital resources they need to work, learn and be entertained," said Mark Lee, co-founder and CEO of Splashtop.
Improving Skill Initiatives in Technology Businesses in 2021
According to Tech Nation’s most recent , UK technology companies now employ more than 2.93 million people, with the sector seeing a 40% growth in the last two years. The new world of work and the uptick in digitalisation caused by the pandemic with the mass uptake of digital services and online communications has meant that the technology sector has seen a huge demand for specific skills across the job market.
Whilst many businesses have done well to adapt to the digital transformation witnessed over the last few years, this rapid advancement of technology has also resulted in widespread difficulties recruiting experienced tech employees. McKinsey reported that over of organisations have reported huge digital skills gaps, which suggest that whilst most tech businesses are aware of and actively trying to tackle these issues, many are struggling to do so effectively.
To remain competitive and overcome this shortage of skilled workers, technology businesses must look at how they can upskill current employees, move employees to new areas of the business, and ensure their technology talent is as up to date as possible.
So how can tech businesses stay ahead of the skills curve this year?
Make an inventory of desired skills – and offer training for them
To introduce effective skilling programmes within technology businesses, management teams should identify and agree on skills that the business is in greatest need of – both in the immediate and longer terms.
Over the past three years, demand for tech skills such as AI, cyber and cloud automation has with AI and cyber in particular growing by 44% and 22% year on year, respectively, from 2019. For many tech businesses, these skills will continue to be desirable for the business to progress, and senior leadership teams must agree on what skills the business wants to prioritise in its workforce.
Next, management teams should then look to create an inventory of these desired skills and also identify what job roles need to be introduced to further this expertise within the business. This can be done through hiring external candidates or even introducing a programme that current employees can take to develop these particular skills.
This technique requires technology businesses to be malleable in their approach, and they can therefore look to introduce training that builds on these skills gaps or even move employees around the business to utilise their existing skills in areas that are most needed.
Incentivise the workforce
Finally, a good way to develop the skills available amongst the workforce in a technology business is to ensure employees are excited about the prospect. If new candidates and existing members of the team feel included in the approach, can see a benefit in taking additional training and feel motivated to further their own career progression, this could be the tech companies’ strongest asset.
For example, companies such as Amazon have set the bar for investing in reskilling and upskilling to keep their entire workforce motivated and, most importantly, up-to-speed. As many people join Amazon, some without any previous educational qualifications to some possessing PHDs, the business’s skilling programme is provided to give all employees the skills they need to either move up at Amazon or move on to a qualified position outside of the company. By offering this training, employees are motivated to think of their own career and future, and Amazon has the benefit of seeing the operational and financial benefits of a skilled, engaged workforce.
According to recent research completed by , software development, cloud migration and project management experience are top of the list for hiring managers in 2021, with tech-specific skills being some of the most in-demand across all sectors. The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated this increased demand for technology skills and talent, and industry leaders are at a pivotal stage to ensure their workers’ skills sets are up-to-date and being utilised effectively within the business.
For tech businesses that wish to attract this new talent as well as keeping current employees engaged and competitive within the industry, bosses must not only incentivise their workers with skilling programmes, but they must work to identify what skills they are in most need of and then put the necessary training programmes in place.