Education Startup Instructure Raises $8M Series B

Salt Lake City-based Instructure Canvas, a provider of a cloud-based learning management systems, plans to announce on Friday that it has raised $8 million in Series B funding from OpenView Venture Partners, EPIC Ventures, TomorrowVentures and Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurveston. As part of the funding, Firas Raouf from OpenView has joined the board. Instructure was co-founded in 2008 at Brigham Young University by CEO Josh Coates, founder of Mozy, took a volunteer position at Brigham Young University in 2007.

PRESS RELEASE

Instructure Canvas Raises $8 Million Funding to fuel growth in a tumultuous market

Salt Lake City, Utah – April 15, 2011 – Instructure Canvas ™ (www.instructure.com), the new entrant in the education learning management system market (LMS), has closed $8 million in a Series B round of financing led by OpenView Venture Partners, EPIC Ventures, TomorrowVentures, and Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurveston.

“We’re here for the long haul,” said Josh Coates, CEO of Instructure. “Our mission is to relieve teachers and students in all levels of education of antiquated technology. The investment will be used to scale the company’s operations and to keep up with market demand.”

On February 1st of this year, Instructure announced the availability of Canvas as open source.  Since then, thousands of schools districts and universities have begun evaluating Canvas and engaged Instructure in their plans to transition their existing LMS solutions. Today the company is servicing more than 30 educational institutions, the majority of which have switched from Blackboard (NASDAQ: BBBB) to Canvas.

“We were compelled by Josh and his team’s vision of delivering outstanding user experiences to those in the education market,’ said Firas Raouf of OpenView Venture Partners. “We received passionately positive feedback from Instructure’s customers that was driven primarily by their user experience with Canvas. The LMS market is long overdue for a new learning platform built on the latest Web-based technologies.”

“At EPIC, we were searching for a disruptive play to serve the dynamic needs of students in the 21st century,” said Nick Efstratis of EPIC Ventures. “Instructure is that company.”

Canvas is Instructure’s cloud-based learning management system and is built primarily around usability and ease of use. It streamlines standard LMS features like the integrated gradebook, assessment tools, discussions, multiple assignment submission types, rubrics and web chat. Its grading tools, including SpeedGrader™ for the iPad, reduce the amount of time educators spend grading assignments.

Canvas leverages the leading edge of web technologies by embracing features such as drag-and-drop file uploads, HTML5 video and automatic speech-to-text conversion. It also integrates with popular Web 2.0 tools and social media platforms like Google Docs and Facebook.

About Instructure
Instructure is a technology company that is focused on improving education. Founded in 2008 by two Computer Science graduate students, Instructure set out to disrupt the complex legacy learning management system industry by creating Canvas – a simple, yet powerful software system that sets a new standard for open technology in education. Investors include OpenView Ventures Partners, EPIC Ventures, TomorrowVentures and Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurveston. For more information, visit www.instructure.com.

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