In 2015, Ryan and I rolled up our sleeves and made it our mission to teach the world to cloud. At the time, options for individuals who needed to acquire cloud skills were extremely limited, expensive and frankly a little boring. When we created A Cloud Guru, we wanted to change that in every way, by making cloud learning relevant, accessible, affordable and, yes, fun. Today, as thousands of enterprises accelerate their moves to the cloud, we’ve been humbled by the growth of the ACG community.
We hear from our customers every day about how our hands-on courses and modules have helped them advance their careers or find new paths in tech. We do this by meeting learners where they are: with specialized content that’s right for their skill levels and is available entirely online. Especially over the past several months, this has meant in their homes on schedules that work for each individual.
The quality and specialization of our content and expertise of our Gurus has helped us grow rapidly. At the same time, the cloud computing market is growing faster than ever, fueled by the need to analyze and store monumental volumes of data, by a proliferation of applications enabling digital transformation, and even by COVID-19 and the move of nearly all business communications to digital platforms. In late 2019, Gartner forecasted that the worldwide public cloud market would grow 17% this year to nearly $270 billion, and that was pre-pandemic. As the largest platform for acquiring cloud skills, ACG is positioned to help organizations and individual learners navigate this rapid growth.
Today, we are excited to share that we’ve reached several exciting milestones. First — and most important for a company created to empower individuals to advance their careers — we’ve now helped more than 2 million people learn to manage AWS, Azure and Google Cloud deployments, and create and lead cloud transformation.
A huge driver of this growth has been our work with businesses that need to shape the skills of hundreds or even thousands of employees to enable them to navigate the complex cloud landscape. This challenge can’t be solved only through hiring: it requires a fundamental shift in the way global workforces stay in tune with technology that changes on a daily basis.
It’s been less than two years since we introduced ACG for Business, and after acquiring Linux Academy in December of 2019, we now have more than 4,000 companies on our learning platforms, including 25% of the Fortune 500 and 50% of the Fortune 100.
More recently, as many employers have asked employees to work from home for an indefinite period of time, we’ve seen an influx of customers who prize ACG’s instructor and course quality, as well as our unique ability to let people learn by doing in Cloud Playgrounds and hands-on labs. In the first five months of 2020, we saw a 30% uptick in business customers compared to the last five months of 2019.
Looking at recent growth, one thing is clear: there’s a fast-growing need to address the cloud skills gap, and companies and individuals alike are taking notice. It’s fueled real growth in our business, and today we can share that ACG has passed a significant milestone: $80M in annual recurring revenue (ARR), a figure that’s tripled in just six months since our acquisition of Linux Academy.
We’re grateful that our growth has allowed us to continue to hire at a time when many organizations have been forced to furlough or lay off team members due to the pandemic. Last year at this time, ACG had just over 100 employees, but today we’re approaching 400 and plan to hire roughly 90 more in Australia, the US and the UK before the end of the year. We’re also heartened by the knowledge that we’re helping thousands of people improve their careers during an otherwise difficult time.
We reflect on the first half of 2020 with gratitude to our community of learners, customers, instructors and partners. We look forward to continuing to grow and learn with you.