Brothers Sam and Ryan Kroonenburg founded A Cloud Guru (“ACG”) in 2015 with a mission to teach the world to cloud. At the time, the available cloud training options were both expensive and unable to keep pace with rapidly changing technology. Frustrated, the pair aimed to make cloud learning relevant, accessible, affordable – and even fun. We met Sam and Ryan a few years later, in 2018, and by that time their initial cloud training course had evolved into a state-of-the-art e-learning platform with a rich content library, hands-on labs, interactive quizzes and certifications.

At Summit Partners, we’ve witnessed the significant and growing challenge that the technology skills gap can cause companies across all industries – slowing product development cycles, constraining cloud initiatives, impacting talent acquisition, and hindering diversity efforts. A Cloud Guru was tackling this challenge head-on, and we were thrilled to partner with the ACG team in early 2019. Since then, ACG has remained focused on its mission, and we have worked to support the company’s rapid growth as they expanded the team, extended the platform and completed the acquisition of Linux Academy. In July 2021, ACG was acquired by Pluralsight. To mark this milestone, we are taking a look at how innovative SaaS e-learning companies like ACG are working to close the technology skills gap while improving accessibility and diversity across the technology industry.

Upskilling the Technology Workforce: Insights from Sam Kroonenburg, Co-founder and CEO of A Cloud Guru

“Businesses need to shape the skills of hundreds or even thousands of employees to help 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. We started A Cloud Guru because we believed there was a better way to help people learn lifechanging tech skills – a way that was engaging, hands-on and human. And we believe this approach is fundamental to creating a culture of cloud learning that allows organizations to stay ahead of the technology curve and stay competitve.”

The Technology Skills Gap


of technology leaders report a skills shortage in their organizations


of organizations report deficits in cloud expertise


of professional computing occupations in the 2020 U.S. workforce are held by women


of all employees will require significant reskilling by 2022

Closing the Gap

Over the last decade, we’ve seen the pace of technological innovation accelerate dramatically, fueling a critical need for new approaches to reskill and upskill the workforce. The need is especially acute in the cloud computing market, where the enterprise embrace of Amazon Web Services (“AWS”), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (“GCP”) is one of the biggest and most disruptive trends impacting the technology industry today. Technology professionals with proficiency in cloud computing are in high demand, and organizations struggle to find, hire and retain talent. Traditional corporate training methods cannot keep up. As a result, the spend on corporate e-learning continues to grow, with an estimated addressable market of more than $40 billion focused specifically on technical training.

In our experience, effective e-learning platforms need to be engaging, interactive, highly relevant and expert-based – and from its earliest days, A Cloud Guru has worked to do just that. ACG delivers fresh and engaging content taught by cloud experts, allowing individual learners and organizations alike to stay ahead of new releases and updates. With a belief that learners learn faster and retain more by doing, ACG has continued to enhance its comprehensive learning platform to create an immersive experience with hands-on labs, practice exams and a Cloud Playground that offers cloud sandboxes, cloud servers and instant terminals. Today, ACG offers the world’s largest cloud learning library, providing access to more than 360 courses and more than 1600 hands-on labs covering everything from AWS, Azure and GCP to Kubernetes and containers to security and Linux. All of this allows ACG to deliver personalized learning at scale and accelerate cloud success, helping to drive massive customer affinity and impressive efficacy levels.


Expanding Accessibility and Diversity

SaaS e-learning models present new opportunities to reach and teach individuals and groups that have been historically underrepresented in the technology industry. Online learners are not bound by geography or expensive degree-based programs. Learning at their own pace, individuals can fit professional skills development around work and family life – and gain the skills and certifications necessary to unlock meaningful career opportunities.

With a mission to teach the world to cloud, A Cloud Guru has consistently focused on making cloud careers accessible to learners at all skill levels and across all backgrounds. As CEO and Co-founder Sam Kroonenburg describes it: “Accessibility is at the heart of everything we do. We want the cloud to be available to anyone and everyone—particularly to those who never felt that an IT career was a real possibility for them.”

For A Cloud Guru, this accessibility means meeting learners where they are, with specialized content that’s right for their skill levels and is available entirely online. And it means supporting a vibrant community of learners, customers, instructors and partners – all focused on the cloud.

With “a belief that anyone, anywhere can grow their cloud skillset and achieve a brighter future,” A Cloud Guru today offers a comprehensive, hands-on and effective SaaS platform for cloud learning, enabling more than 2.5 million learners to acquire the skills and certifications needed to pursue meaningful careers in the cloud. More than 4000 companies use A Cloud Guru’s learning platforms, including 25% of the Fortune 500 and 50% of the Fortune 100.

Summit Partners has been investing in edtech and broader education sector for more than 20 years, partnering with numerous companies across the learning continuum, spanning early childhood to higher ed to professional learning. We are proud to support the work and mission of these businesses in improving education accessibility and learning efficacy.


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