TORONTO Aug 14 Canada's D2L Inc said on
Thursday it raised $85 million in venture capital funds, the
country's biggest such deal this year, as the fast-growing owner
of educational software maker Desire2Learn looks to ramp up its
Already an established player in Internet-based learning in
North America, privately held Desire2Learn plans to spur its
global expansion efforts with the cash injection, one of the
five largest venture capital fund raises in Canada in the last
10 years, according to Thomson Reuters data.
"We see an incredible opportunity in front of us as we
support an industry rethinking itself as it goes digital," the
company's chief executive officer, John Baker, said in a phone
The company, whose workforce has grown more than 40 percent
in two years, competes with the likes of Blackboard, which was
bought in 2011 for $1.64 billion by a group led by Providence
Desire2Learn, based in the Kitchener-Waterloo corridor some
100 km (62 miles) west of Toronto, recently opened offices in
Brazil, Singapore, Britain and Australia. It says almost 900
software applications from schools, universities and companies
are integrated into its Brightspace platform serving 15 million
"It's not just about putting course notes online. It's about
adaptive learning, mobility, learning analytics and everything
else that goes into creating a great learning experience," Baker
Investors in its latest funding round included Columbus Nova
Technology Partners, Graham Holdings, Four Rivers Group and
Aurion Capital. Silicon Valley Bank provided debt financing.
The latest financing follows an earlier $80 million round in
2012, co-led by New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures,
which both also contributed this time around.
OMERS Ventures CEO John Ruffolo said the venture capital arm
of the massive Canadian pension fund had kept a prorated stake
in the company in the latest round.
"D2L is a great example of putting in a boatload of capital,
taking dominant market share to grow this thing and then putting
even more capital in there to make sure," Ruffolo said in an
interview at his Bay Street office.
D2L's Baker said the company had no near-term plan to go
public as his team, with 800 employees, was focused on global
growth and research and development.
Baker also said he had no immediate plans to make
acquisitions. In March, the company bought the Achievement
Standards Network, which Baker said has 400,000 predefined
educational standards that can be tied to curriculum.
Baker declined to specify a current valuation for D2L, but
said after the latest funding round, the venture capital
investors will still hold a minority of its equity.
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Jonathan Oatis)