Online education company Lynda.com has raised its first round of funding, securing $103 million in growth equity from Accel Partners, Spectrum Equity and Meritech Capital Partners. CEO Eric Robison tells peHUB that the company, founded in 1995, will use the funding to expand internationally (and add online courses in non-English languages), as well as add new mobile platforms. The company had been self-funded since its launch by co-founders Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, who are married and remain active as executive chair and chief creative officer, respectively. Lynda.com boasts that it offers some 1,500 courses and reportedly earned more than $100 million in revenue last year. As part of the funding, Andrew Braccia of Accel and Vic Parker of Spectrum, have joined the board.
LYNDA.COM FUELS GROWTH AND INNOVATION WITH $103 MILLION FUNDING
Online Education Leader to Scale Technology, Expand Content and Increase Global Reach with Investment Led by Accel Partners and Spectrum Equity
(CARPINTERIA, CA) – January 16, 2013 – lynda.com, an online learning company, today announced a $103 million investment from Accel Partners, the global venture capital firm, and Spectrum Equity, a leading growth equity firm focused on the information economy. The financing marks the first outside funding in the 17-year history of lynda.com. Meritech Capital Partners also participated in the investment.
With this investment, Andrew Braccia of Accel and Vic Parker of Spectrum have joined the company’s board of directors, which also includes Lynda Weinman, co-founder and Executive Chair, Bruce Heavin, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Eric Robison, president and CEO and Bud Colligan, former CEO of Macromedia and current Accel Venture Partner.
Founded in 1995, lynda.com provides software, technology, creative and business training to more than two million people worldwide through a comprehensive library of 83,000 high quality instructional videos taught by 250 recognized industry experts. In 2012, the company earned more than $100 million in revenue and has been profitable since 1997.
“We’re fortunate that our financial performance and profitability over the years has enabled us to reinvest in the ongoing growth of the company,” said Eric Robison, president and CEO of lynda.com. “Our decision to accept outside funding will support lynda.com as we expand internationally. It will also add value to our membership with broadened content areas and accelerated scaling of our Web and video platform.”
“Our mission has always been to help people navigate changing technology through providing up-to-date, credible learning materials that are easy to follow,” said Lynda Weinman, co-founder and Executive Chair of lynda.com. “We’ve built a thriving business by focusing on our product, collaborating with the best teachers in the industry and providing flexible learning paths for our customers. Now, we’re ready for the next level. This investment increases our ability to expand our services to help more people in more places, and we believe that Accel and Spectrum have the domain expertise, resources and shared vision to help us reach our goals.”
In addition to individual subscribers, lynda.com serves corporate, government and educational organizations through its lyndaEnterprise, lyndaPro, lyndaCampus and lyndaKiosk products. Clients include numerous public and private K-12 institutions, 44 out of 50 top national universities, more than half of the Fortune 100 companies, 31 U.S. state governments, all branches of the U.S. military and all cabinet-level departments of the U.S. federal government.
“We have followed the growth of lynda.com closely for several years as the company has established itself as a clear leader in online education content across several important categories,” said Vic Parker, Managing Director at Spectrum Equity. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to invest in lynda.com and look forward to working with the board and management team to expand the company’s offerings and reach an even larger audience of online learners.”
“Education is the latest industry to encounter a major digital disruption and lynda.com is at the forefront of connecting educational content to learners online,” added Andrew Braccia, Partner, Accel Partners. “We are excited to stand behind the lynda.com management team as they continue to build the leading brand in online education.”
The company’s headquarters are in Carpinteria, California, with international offices in the United Kingdom and Australia.
lynda.com is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, technology, creative and business skills to achieve their personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, more than two million people have access to the lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts and filmed at the company’s 12-acre, state-of-the-art campus in Carpinteria, California. Founded in 1995 and incorporated in 1997, lynda.com is led by co-founders Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin and president and CEO Eric Robison. Learn more about the lynda.com story at www.lynda.com/press and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lynda.
About Accel Partners
Founded in 1983, Accel Partners has a long history of partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class businesses. Accel invests globally using dedicated teams and market-specific strategies for local geographies, with offices in Palo Alto, New York City, London and Bangalore; as well as in China via its partnership with IDG-Accel. Accel has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies, many of which have defined their categories, including Angry Birds (Rovio), Atlassian, Braintree, Brightcove, Cloudera, ComScore, Diapers.com (Quidsi), Dropbox, Etsy, Facebook, Flipkart, Fusion-IO, GlamMedia, Groupon, Imperva, Kayak, Lookout, Macromedia, metroPCS, QlikTech, Responsys, Riverbed, Spotify, Squarespace, Sunrun, Trulia, Veritas, Walmart.com and Wonga.
About Spectrum Equity
Spectrum Equity is a leading growth equity firm focused on investing in innovative growth stage businesses in the information economy. Spectrum has been an active investor in digital media and SaaS businesses including Ancestry.com (acquired by Permira), Animoto, Demand Media, iPay Technologies (acquired by Jack Henry & Associates), ITA Software (acquired by Google), NetQuote (acquired by Bankrate), RiskMetrics Group (acquired by MSCI), Seamless, Seisint (acquired by LexisNexis/Reed Elsevier), and SurveyMonkey. Founded in 1994 with offices in Boston and Menlo Park, Spectrum has raised $4.7 billion in capital across six funds.
About Meritech Capital Partners
Meritech Capital Partners is a leading provider of late-stage venture capital to category-defining private technology companies and has been one of the top performing venture firms of the past decade. With over $2.6 billion under management, Meritech provides guidance on issues facing rapidly growing companies including hiring, IPO market timing and positioning, M&A strategies and adviser selection. Meritech investments include Facebook, Salesforce, Riverbed, Netsuite, PopCap, and Cornerstone OnDemand. Meritech is located in Palo Alto, CA.