Schoology, a learning management solution which provides a collaborative learning environment, has raised a $15 million venture round led by Intel Capital with participation of new investors Great Oaks Venture Capital and Great Road Holdings and existing investors FirstMark Capital and Meakem Becker Venture Capital. Intel Capital’s Sumeet Jain will join Schoology’s Board of Directors.
The round brings Schoology’s total capital raised to $25 million.
Instructure Canvas is quietly building what could become one of the dominant platforms in online education, from academic to vocational and lifelong learning. In this post I want to focus on three indicators that show Instructure’s growth in different verticals of the market and the overall potential the Canvas Network has for institutions and for-profit education.
In the summer of 2012, I was heading to Ljubljana to teach a four-week course to a group of Slovenian university students. I gathered everything that I needed to teach the course: readings, case studies, links to blogs and web videos, and more. But there was one problem. I didn’t have a good way to share these materials with the students.
This got me thinking. We are all well aware of the many issues educators and students have with the usability of many learning management systems. But this was the first time I experienced the issue of not being able to take a course I had already set up in my St. Thomas LMS with me to teach somewhere else. And it occurred to me that there are probably many educators who face this issue on a regular basis (adjunct faculty who teach at more than one institution, for instance).
Instructure Canvas announced that it opened an office in London, bringing the Canvas LMS to the UK. The local team is already working together with the University of Birmingham, Henley Business School, Condè Nast College of Fashion & Design and Wolsey Hall Oxford.
Earlier this week Harvard announced that it will replace its in-house developed LMS iSites with Canvas by the 2016-17 academic year.
Clever, a startup that provides schools with an API to connect existing LMSs with new edtech products, raised a $10.3 million Series A led by Sequoia Capital with participation of Paul Graham (Y Combinator founder), Sam Altman (Y Combinator President) and Deborah Quazzo (GSV Advisors). Sequoia Capital Partner Bryan Schreier will join Clever’s Board of Directors.
The funding will be used to hire more developers and salespeople as well as for the next stage of growth, turning the API into a digital learning platform for the classroom.
Today’s article goes back to the origins of my career in blogging. When somebody asks me how I got started I usually tell him or her that it was really quite accidental. Based on having a successful tutoring business online I soon got so many questions from fellow tutors and online educators about how to establish their own online presence that it really made more sense to put my thoughts and advice out there in form of a blog than to answer each question in an individual email.
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.