Legal and IP News

Blockchain credentialing startup Learning Machine acquired

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Learning Machine, a blockchain credentialing startup that grew out of the MIT Labs, has been acquired by enterprise content management company Hyland.

Hyland is known for its OnBase solution, employs 3,500 people, and is estimated to have earned $700 million in revenues in 2018. The company is owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo which recently acquired JD Power.

Learning Machine secured a $3 million seed round in 2018 and started out focusing on education, to provide credentials for diplomas and exams.

By providing secure, provable education credentials, it reduces fraud or over-claiming qualifications on resumes. Plus, the evolving working world means that people have to retrain every few years, and need to be able to prove the skills they’ve acquired in non-college environments.

Subsequently, Learning Machine expanded its offerings to the government sector for licenses and identity, as well as health records. These are both areas in which Hyland is active.

“This acquisition is a major step toward our goal of revolutionizing the way organizations electronically exchange trusted records,” said Bill Priemer, president and CEO of Hyland.

“The addition of Learning Machine’s digital credentialing solutions to Hyland’s content services platform will enable our customers to generate and manage digital documents that are both easily shareable and instantly verifiable.”

However, much of the Learning Machine user base is still focused on digitally secured diplomas and transcripts. Hyland has 900 clients in the education sector.

In the announcement, Hyland stated it plans to extend Learning Machine’s solutions across other vertical markets and regions. The acquirer also confirmed it would continue to support Learning Machine’s existing solutions and customers.

Learning Machine says the credentials are owned by the individual, independent of any vendor and can be verified anywhere. This is the result of using public blockchains (Ethereum and Bitcoin) and because, in the early days, it developed a blockchain credentialing standard, Blockcerts.

Since the acquisition, Chris Jagers Learning Machine’s founder and former CEO said that it is continuing to work on Blockcerts and aims to align it with the W3C standard on Verifiable Credentials.

Blockchain credentialing activity

Credentialing is a very active blockchain sector. Last week the American Council for Education announced it had U.S. government funding for the Learning Credential Network.

Three months ago, IBM unveiled its Learning Credential Network with several organizations, including the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), which verifies academic qualifications for 3,700 institutions.

And the Clearinghouse is also taking part in a new initiative, the Velocity Network Foundation that includes SAP, Upwork, talent manager Cornerstone and 11 other firms.