Ed-tech platform Desire2Learn raises $85M

Steven Loeb · August 14, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/38a0

Desire2Learn will use the funding to build out predictive models, and to expand internationally

If I ever wind up having kids, I'm pretty sure that the school that they go to will look nothing like it did when I was child. Technology in education is moving quickly, with new tools and resources to, theoretically, make learning easier and more adaptive. 

One company whose entire mission is to give these kinds of tools to educators is online-education startup Desire2Learn. The company has now raised $85 million in its second ever round of funding, ReCode is reporting. The funding came from existing investors, including NEA, as well as new investors, including Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Graham Holdings, Four Rivers Group and Aurion Capital.

Though it was founded 15 years, in 1999, Desire2Learn was bootstrapped for its entire history until September 2012, when it raised an $80 million round from New Enterprise Associates and Omers Ventures.  

The Waterloo, Ontario-based Desire2Learn offers a cloud-based learning platform for schools, and it provides tools that help educators deliver an open and extensible platform to students.

For example, one tool that is offered is called Degree Compass, which uses predictive analytics to guide students’ course selection in the way that will best help them earn their degree. There is also the Binder app, which allows students to collect, organize, and discover learning content from the D2L Learning Environment or a digital textbook.

The company has two different plans for its new money: First, it will use it to build out its functionality, specifically when it comes to predictive models and personalized learning, pushing out more products along the line of Degree Compass.

Second, it will also go toward expanding further internationally. The service is currently used in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and Singapore, but there was no indication of where the company plans to go next. 

Desire2Learn currently has more 1,100 customers, including school districts, universities, and corporations. The company now reaches more than 15 million students.

Ed-tech is still a hot sector right now, with numerous companies raising funding this year. They include"

Adaptive learning platform Smart Sparrow, which raised $10 million; Regent Education, a provider of financial aid management and enrollment optimization software, raised a $9 million round; Allclasses, a search engine for finding online classes, raised a $1.5 million round of funding; Udemy, a marketplace for learning and teaching online, raised $32 million; Social learning platform Declara raised $16 million;  Clever, a platform that easily integrates with any K-12 school’s Student Information System, raised $10.3 $10.3 million; Meducation, a medical education network aimed at medical students and professionals, completed  a $1 million seed funding round; AltSchool, a network of micro-schools that offers personalized education for children, closed a $33 million round; and SimpleTution, which seeks to make it easier for students and their families to afford a higher education, raised $26 million.

In addition, Marck Zuckerberg donated $120 million to Bay Area schools in March, 

VatorNews has reached out to Desire2Learn for confirmation. We will update if we learn more. 

(Image source: gettingsmart.com)

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs



Joined Vator on

Name of the company



Joined Vator on


Udemy is a website that enables anyone to teach and learn online. Udemy tries to democratize online education by making it fast, easy and free to create online courses. Udemy is an open platform, so anyone can build an online course by posting videos, presentations, writing blog posts, or hosting live virtual classroom sessions.

Udemy tries to solve a simple problem: there are millions of smart people in the world (authors, speakers, coaches, trainers, subject matter experts and teachers) who want to teach over the internet. Currently, it costs $10,000 to create a website to teach, and there are thousands of instructors doing this (we've talked to them; they hate it). We provide instructors with the ability to create their own course without any up-front costs. That way, they no longer have to deal with the technology and can focus entirely on teaching.

Udemy Live is Udemy’s live virtual conferencing and classroom tool. It is entirely web-based and built on component architecture. Each component was built separately, and there is an internal API so third party developers can build components on top of Udemy’s virtual conferencing tool. The API is not currently public.

Udemy was founded by MobileCrunch writer Gagan Biyani, Eren Bali and Oktay Caglar. Eren and Oktay worked at SpeedDate.com, an online dating site that has received over $8M in funding from Menlo Ventures.

Udemy will start by focusing on a specific niche: Poker education. We will roll out Udemy to enter the $100M business of online poker education. Udemy has deals with more than 15 extremely popular poker instructors to teach on Udemy Poker over the internet. After that niche, Udemy will begin to enter additional markets in which there is a willingness to pay by consumers and a clear set of high-quality instructors interested in teaching.