Antler Investor Memo Series: Financial training startup Nuggets Academy wants to put an end to ‘death by PowerPoint’ in professional development

- April 19, 2023 3 MIN READ
Nuggets Academy Ross Lin and joyce Ong.
Nuggets Academy founders Joyce Ong and Ross Lin. Photo: Supplied

Early stage investment company Antler Australia recently backed a new cohort of startups as part of its ongoing program to build great local tech companies.

Startup Daily is sharing the details of each venture in the “Antler Investor Memos” series, which is designed to give you a quick,  sharp understanding of the startups and people involved, with many seeking follow up capital following Antler’s initial pre-seed investment.

Company name: Nuggets Academy

Formation date: 2022

Stage of business: Pre-Seed

Founders: Joyce Ong and Ross Lin

Current investors: Antler

Currently raising: Yes

Description of business

Every year, finance professionals must undertake dozens of hours of mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and training to ​​maintain professional competency and integrity standards. 

Not only is this often a painful tick-the-box exercise, but the training offered by traditional industry bodies is considered by many stale and expensive, providing inaccessible and dated learning experiences, while other comparative learning platforms lack the depth and insight required for such expertise subject matter.

Nuggets Academy is pioneering change in the industry with a new platform that allows finance professionals to share their expertise to learn together and from each other, enabling exceptional live learning experiences.

Leading this business are Joyce Ong and her co-founder Ross Lin. Joyce is a tax specialist and formerly the ATO’s National Tax Governance Lead. Ross is a tech and product guru and former startup founder.

Prior to Nuggets Academy, Ross founded Jayride, for which he raised $15 million in funding and scaled to a team of more than 100 employees. Jayride, is now listed on the ASX. 

Together, the pair are on a mission to disrupt the way workforce education is approached, empower finance professionals to succeed in their careers and eradicate ‘death by PowerPoint.’

Antler investment thesis

“Nuggets Academy scores highly across team, product and market,” says Jake Booker, Associate Partner at Antler Australia. 

“The product is innovative, the team has developed a very clear value proposition and there is very little competition currently in the market. Along with that, the global finance CPD market is estimated to be $20+ billion in western English-speaking countries alone with online learning growing at a rapid rate of 14.6% per annum (CAGR).

“The team’s traction to date in terms of revenue, organic growth and low churn are strong early indicators towards building an impressive platform-led business. We believe there’s a significant opportunity for Nuggets Academy with the ability to scale virally.”

Traction/ milestones, to date

Since it launched in February 2022, Nuggets Academy has attracted more than 700 paid subscribers and more than 50 teams. Along with that, its live events have been attended by more than 4,000 finance professionals and it has attracted more than 30 instructors who are currently teaching on the platform. This has seen its ARR triple to more than $480,000 in the past year alone.

Latest funding

Pre-Seed from Antler.

Use of funds

Antler Australia’s initial investment will enable Nuggets Academy to continue to validate its business model, find product market fit and build out its MVP. In particular, the team plans to focus on automating CPD capturing and reporting for the accounting industry and standardise operations for running live virtual events for future scaling.

The founders say

“At Nuggets Academy, we are never satisfied with the status quo,” says Joyce. “If there’s a way to do something better, you can bet that we’re working on it. 

“We believe real change starts with people. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or trainer thinking about creating content, or an experienced professional looking for a career with purpose, our platform allows anyone in the finance industry to teach with us, share their expertise and exchange knowledge with other finance professionals. This allows us to scale quickly and efficiently. 

“Our vision is to be the go-to live learning platform for finance professionals. So far, we’ve found product-market fit within the finance Edtech space; and have clear know-how to scale this thanks to our strong founding team.

“Antler has also provided invaluable mentoring and guidance on fundraising for our next round, as well as credibility which is crucial in the finance profession. We have also acquired talent and investor connections through the Antler network and community.” 

What’s next?

Antler, a global early-stage VC, is revealing all its latest investments made in ambitious Australian founders and startups. With over 100 investments in early-stage companies, Tax Nuggets Academy is one of its most recent portfolio companies.