The co-founder of online tech learning platform A Cloud Guru has responded to customer concerns around the startup’s acquisition, saying he welcomes the passion coming from the community of users.
Last week, the startup announced it has entered into an acquisition deal, reported to be worth $2 billion, with Utah-based workforce development company Pluralsight.
The announcement was hailed as a win for the maturing Australian tech scene, but customers had their concerns about diminishing competition in the tech training sector, disruption in the service, and whether they’re going to get the products they know and love.
“We know that change is hard and we understand that our customers want to continue to experience the A Cloud Guru they know and trust,” co-founder and chief executive Sam Kroonenburg tells SmartCompany.
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He and his co-founder (and brother) Ryan Kroonenburg remain “committed to delivering the highest-quality content and an awesome customer experience,” he adds.
The startup’s online labs and cloud sandboxes, for example, and going nowhere, he says.
That said, he also says he doesn’t shy away from a little criticism. An engaged and vocal customer base is no bad thing, he notes.
“We welcome the passion of our Cloud Gurus across social media. It’s why we love this community.”
James Cameron, partner at Aussie VC firm and A Cloud Guru investor AirTree, also described the startup’s customer base as “hugely fanatical”, suggesting he’s never seen a business with “such an engaged community”.
“I can understand that some may be worried about whether they will still be able to access the ACG products they have come to love so much,” Cameron noted.
“But they should rest assured that the great ACG content and products will continue to be made available.”
While A Cloud Guru’s acquisition announcements on Twitter and LinkedIn were met with some messages of congratulations, the majority of comments came from customers concerned about the kind of services they can expect now.
A Cloud Guru recently acquired competitor Linux Academy, and migrated its clients onto its own platform. Now, comments suggest those clients feel they’re about to be uprooted again.
One commenter on LinkedIn said they are “sick and tired” of the disruption.
“Last year I was on Linux Academy. Then Guru. Now a month after renewing I’m on Pluralsight a company I have never liked,” they said.
On Twitter, things weren’t much more positive. Commenters suggested the move will lessen competition in the space, and that A Cloud Guru risks losing the “awesomeness” that makes it unique.
“I don’t think I am as excited about this as you are,” one said bluntly.
I don’t think I am as excited about this as you are
— Chris Ebert (@realchrisebert) June 3, 2021
curious timing given the former Linux Academy user merge to ACG completing at the end of May.
the consumer of products never benefits from the elimination of competing companies.
but hey, congrats to you c-levels I guess.
— myTechAcct (@myTechAcct) June 2, 2021
Perfect! Less options, less competition, and (most likely) more costly… Yay! #NOT
— Sergio Erazo (@SergioErazoC) June 2, 2021
Am sad. The awesomeness is now gone. We will be left with playgrounds and labs. What a sad day…. pic.twitter.com/NUb2ZQxyeN
— steven machuke (@StevenMachuke) June 2, 2021
I don’t dislike Pluralsight, but less competition is not great.
I really doubt as they swallow up everything that your content remains a differentiator in any way.
I get it though… unfortunately, business gonna business.
— Ryan (@kn0wmadic) June 2, 2021
Responding to customers on the Twitter thread, A Cloud Guru maintained that, at least for now, nothing is changing for customers.
Tweets also echoed Kroonenburg’s reassurance that features including labs and online sandboxes will remain.
However, they seemed to stop short of assuring users that its pricing on grandfathered plans — that is, plans offering a set price for existing customers even as prices increase for new users — will remain set in stone.
We can assure you that the course style, sandboxes, hands-on labs, and other features you love about LA/ACG are not going away – Pluralsight understands the importance of these innovations and are committed to making the combined platform THE best place to learn cloud.
— A Cloud Guru (@acloudguru) June 3, 2021