Desire2Learn raises $80 million Series A

Desire2Learn raises $80 million Series A

DESIRE2LEARN: A whopping $80 million to Waterloo, Ontario-based Desire2Learn in Series A round led by New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures. This is the first round of financing for the company, which has been self-funded (and generating revenue) since 1999. The deal is reportedly "the largest-ever venture capital investment in a Canadian software company," according to the press release. And it was completed in only "a few months," according to VP of Marketing, John McLeod. The company offers an extensive suite of services, from LMS to webcasting to APIs, among others, and has partnered with a host of familiar content developers and software vendors for their tools and services. Phil Hill has a fine analysis of this announcement, and shares a handy graph showing D2L's hockey-stick growth after 2010.

We'll be honest: seeing a previously bootstrapped company raise this amount seemingly out of the blue has left our jaws agape. We can't help but wonder how it supported raising this amount. Any plausible explanation would likely involve an aggressive international strategy, something McLeod confirmed. D2L has been on a massive hiring spree, employing 233 people this year alone and looking to add over 170 more. The company currently boasts 700 clients and 8 million learners in the higher-ed, K-12 and corporate space (at a respective ratio of 2:1:1). Its website lists ten countries and has offices in Ontario, Baltimore, Victoria (Australia), London and Singapore--and according to The Globe and Mail, much of the hiring will be to fill out its sales and marketing teams in the latter three cities, in addition to additional R&D. We can only wonder how much the company will raise for the next round.

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