Forj lands $15M in funding to help communities grow their membership; announces merger
Building and growing an online community can be challenging and time-consuming. You not only have to understand the needs of your community members, but you also have to think about community engagement, management, and a slew of other things to grow the community to increase its impact.
It’s for these reasons that Forj was launched a year ago to help take the grunt work out of running and managing online community platforms. Forj is a purpose-built experience platform for communities of practice. Its platform helps to accelerate community engagement by automatically serving up relevant, personalized content that keeps members coming back.
Today, Forj announced it has closed $15 million in a Series A funding round led by Plymouth Growth, with participation from existing Forj investors, Baird Capital and GCI. Additionally, Forj also announced a merger with Web Courseworks, a Learning Management System startup. Following the merger, the two startups will operate as an integrated entity coming together under the Forj brand.
In conjunction with the funding, Forj said that Ufer joins Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of Forj, Jim Pavlik, Partner with Baird Capital, and Bill Schleicher, president & COO of GCI will join its board of directors.
Forj was founded a year ago to re-imagine the member experience and simplify the association technology ecosystem by delivering personalized content, member-to-member connections, and learning experiences through a single solution. By incorporating the Web Courseworks technology, team, and expertise, Forj will be able to deliver community-driven learning that enables its clients to reduce churn, grow membership and generate non-dues revenue.
“Our purpose is to modernize the member experience in mission-driven associations and other communities of practice, enabling them to unlock their full potential. There is a massive opportunity in front of us, as our clients transform to meet the ever-increasing expectations of their members who want to learn, to forge relationships, and to belong to a community that helps them grow,” said Kurt Heikkinen, CEO of Forj. “I’m excited to invest in our future and lead our organizations to accelerate our innovation and growth.”
“When we met Kurt and the team at Forj, we immediately saw similarities in our cultures and our approach to client relationships. We have similar values and a strong commitment to service,” said Amber Winter, Forj Chief Client Officer and former CEO of Web Courseworks. “Combining forces positions us as the member experience partner of choice, one who delivers measurable results to organizations striving to grow and expand their impact by using community as a catalyst for learning.”
“Plymouth Growth could not be more excited to support the Forj and Web Courseworks merger,” said Evan Ufer, Partner at Plymouth Growth. “Having partnered previously with Kurt — as well as existing Forj investors, Baird Capital and GCI – we are thrilled to back this proven leadership team in bringing two great organizations together. This is an exceptional opportunity for both companies and their respective customers, as the growing market for member experience and community-driven learning continues to evolve.”