Instructure Canvas

Instructure raises $30 million Series D Funding – Heads for IPO

Instructure Canvas

Instructure, makers of the Canvas LMS which targets established players like Blackboard and the Canvas Network which is Instructure’s answer to the MOOC craze, announced a $30 million Series D funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation of existing investors. This latest round brings the total funding raised to $50 million.

The funds will be used to accelerate Instructure Canvas adoption in K-12 schools, colleges and universities according to the press release.

Josh Coates, CEO of Instructure, also shares that the company is not headed for an exit of being acquired by one of its competitors like Blackboard. Instead, they are heading for an IPO sooner or later.

“We’re building the foundation of a company that will one day access the public markets. We have a long-term vision for education, and we’re committed to making it a reality.”

This is of course important for potential clients who think about switching their LMS provider. As we often see in the social media space where acquisitions of smaller platforms happen all the time, particularly at the moment, many people who switched from let’s say Facebook often find themselves back at the same place when services like Instagram get acquired.

If a school or college decides to switch from Blackboard they certainly do it for a good reason. Hence, they want to be sure that the service is going to exist at least five to ten years down the road and not being acquired by the service provider they had left.

Instructure’s business model seems to be solid. Since its launch, Instructure has attracted more than 6 million teachers and students from 425 institutions and booked more than $90 million in contracts according to the press release.

Instructure Canvas Network, the company’s answer to MOOC platforms like Coursera, Udacity or edX, has delivered more than 40 online courses by partner universities since its launch in November 2012. Other than MOOC platforms like Udacity or Coursera, Canvas Network allows institutions to define the structure of their courses and how to teach these themselves which has resulted in various different formats ranging from a smaller online course format with more interaction to really massive video lecture based courses.

Back then I had the pleasure to talk with Brian Whitmer, co-founder and CPO of Instructure. We talked about the Canvas Network and the future of online delivered higher education.

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