Ethena has been around for the better part of 5 years, aiming to make workplace compliance training not such a drag. It all started with a simple idea: ”Cringe-free content paired with best-in-class technology.” As their business flourished, they dove head first into providing more dynamic content and better technology for big names. They now offer a course library of over 150 individual courses and micro-learnings on the most commonly needed topics from harassment prevention to DE&I, and much more plus an LMS offering enabling custom course content.

When Ethena reached out to chat about their recent experiences with Rustici Engine and Rustici Cross Domain, we were so excited to see how it has been going. We sat down with the one and only Matt Dean, VP of Engineering at Ethena, to review their company, how implementation has gone and what innovative plans they have coming up.

So, what makes Ethena different?

“Our CEO and Co-Founder, Roxanne Petraeus, spent her early career dealing with these boilerplate corporate trainings, especially safety and inclusivity. She started to feel like the training was insufficient and formulated how this experience could be more productive. With that mission in mind and added technological expertise from Co-Founder Anne Solmssen, the co-founder, and me, Ethena was created.

As we got further into our journey of building better training, we wanted the training experience to be enjoyable not only for the learner, but also for the teams that administer this training. After hearing about all of the frustrations of learning administrators, a complimentary goal started to show. This birthed the next set of tools and features beyond the training, and, ultimately, our LMS Essentials product. Now we have the flexibility to cater to most companies’ standard required training needs and also custom training courses that companies can build themselves.”

And as you continued to grow, what were some problems you were running into?

“When Ethena was founded, we were still figuring out whether to bring in a learning or content management system. After thoroughly debating and researching our options, we ultimately decided that building a better training experience is the core business. We decided to build our own CMS. Having proprietary technology let us build and manage the experience of these training sessions for our learners. As we continued down this road, we discovered some customers wanted the Ethena training experience but within their own eLearning ecosystem. So we asked ourselves, ‘can we achieve this without investing too much time and resources?”

What was the ultimate factor in deciding to buy vs. build?

“We had to figure out how to support eLearning standards, both on the way in and on the way out. Initially, we thought that this would be a big problem for us. Not only that we may need like five engineers for a full quarter to build it, but it’ll be a nightmare to maintain. And so after some Googling, we discovered this is a thing that the Rustici Software folks offer. Building the pipes that support eLearning standards, both on the way in and on the way out. ”

That [discovering Rustici Software] was a big unlock for us because that meant that we could have our cake and eat it too.

– Matt Dean, VP of Engineering at Ethena

Once you found Rustici Engine and Rustici Cross Domain, what was the implementation like?

“I think what was so refreshing about Rustici Software’s approach was it was very straightforward and supportive. Your support team lays out where the documentation is, how it works and how to contact them for questions. Rustici Software support is always very responsive, whether on the phone or email. When you’re implementing a technical product, you need clear and obvious documentation on how it works. And on both fronts for Rustici Engine and Cross Domain, we got it up and running quickly with the support and documentation.

Suddenly we’re an LMS and as we progressed into having Engine and Cross Domain, we felt secure because we had the experts on our side. Especially when we experienced our first compatibility issue and we kind of freaked out. We ended up sitting down with Kyle Patmor, and within just a few days he resolved the issue very easily. I don’t know how we would have solved that problem without that kind of support.”

I remember being surprised that this project was ahead of schedule. 

– Matt Dean, VP of Engineering at Ethena

Looking toward the future, what are you guys working on?

“We’re fully invested in our training experience while allowing our clients to centralize our content within their ecosystem. We believe Ethena makes a lot of sense for many companies, and we’re very excited about Rustici Engine because it’s allowed us to empower teams to centralize all of their required training in Ethena. We expect to continue to invest in that as it has unlocked an entirely new product line. Those integrations, combined with our upcoming revamp of our learning experience, makes us excited for new and existing customers. And for companies on the other side of the spectrum, we can now support them by bringing our content to their LMS with Rustici Cross Domain. We can say ‘let’s still work together,’ and be mindful of a long-term future together opening even more business opportunities.”

Stay agile with Rustici Engine and Rustici Cross Domain

We were so glad to catch up with Matt. We are excited about all the great things they are cooking up and happy that Rustici Engine and Cross Domain can help along the way. Make sure to check out more on how Rustici Engine or Rustici Cross Domain can help your content or LMS with distributing or playing your content. If you have any questions from this chat or anything related to Rustici Engine or Cross Domain, ask us. We are here to help.

Josh Darpino is our Product Marketing Manager who brings a love of tech and strategy as well as a creative eye to the marketing team at Rustici Software. When he’s not racing to send important product information out to our customers, he’s running across the finish line in races ranging from 5Ks to half marathons.