Desire2Learn D2L

Desire2Learn raises $85 million Series B for International Growth

Canada-based Desire2Learn raised an $85 million Series B led by a large institutional asset manager with participation from Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Graham Holdings, Four Rivers Group, Aurion Capital and existing investors New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures. Silicon Valley Bank also provided debt financing in this round.

The investment brings the company’s total funds raised to $165 million.

Key Takeaway

Founded in 1999, this is only the second round of venture funding that D2L raised. An $80 million Series A took place in September 2012, followed by a series of acquisitions in 2013-14 including Degree Compass, Wigio, Knowillage and Achievement Standards Network. Last month D2L founder and CEO John Baker announced rebranding of its core product, an integrated learning platform (ILP), to Brightspace.

“We’re focused on helping our clients improve productivity, learner achievement and satisfaction, increase retention and graduation rates and inspire greater engagement overall.” – John Baker

The company’s offering for K-12 and higher education is built around data analytics and mobility.

Teachers can track student performance and identify students at risk early on. Through Degree Compass, university students get personalized recommendation for courses and degrees based on their skills and interest. Brightspace is currently used by over 1100 clients and has 15 million users in 25 countries.

Brightspace can be used for free by individual educators. Schools, districts or national education departments pay for the service and get more analytics tools in return. New Zealand has adopted the platform for its public K-12 schools.

D2L has around 800 employees around the globe, the largest part is located in the company’s headquarter in Canada. D2L’s global offices are located in Brazil, Singapore, Britain and Australia.

“Ultimately, Desire2Learn is helping educators deliver personalized learning the way that delivered a personalized shopping experience.”

states Jon Sakoda, partner at New Enterprise Associates in WSJ.

Though Baker declined to share the current valuation of D2L he stated in 2012, at the time of the Series A, that the company was already profitable. Since then the company’s value is up significantly, he told Bloomberg. He then shared with Reuters that even after the massive Series B venture capital investors still hold a minority stake in D2L. Baker also stated that there were no immediate plans for an IPO and the focus was now on growing D2L’s global reach and to launch new products.

“We’re seeing very rapid growth in Europe, we’ve seen triple-digit growth in Latin America and Asia Pacific.”

Baker told Bloomberg.

Further Reading

  • D2L Raises $85 Million in Strategic Financing | Press Release
  • D2L raises $85 million in Strategic Financing | Brightspace Blog
  • Canada’s Desire2Learn raises $85 mln for global e-learning push | Reuters
  • Desire2Learn Raises $85M to Deliver ‘Personalized Education’ | Wall Street Journal
  • Desire2Learn Raises $85 Million to Bring Classrooms Into the 21st Century | re/code
  • Desire2Learn Scores $85 Million in Second Funding Round | Bloomberg
  • Desire2Learn’s $85 Million Deal | EdSurge

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Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at