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Desire2Learn raises $85M for web-based teaching platform

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Big data is everywhere. It’s usually used to push brands and fatten wallets, but it can also be used to enlarge brains.

The Canadian company Desire2Learn has announced that it’s raised $85 million to build big data smarts into the the learning process.

The company’s product, called Brightspace, is a web-based learning platform that delivers all sorts of education content to students in the classroom or at home. It also constantly keeps track of how well students are grasping the material.

And here’s the big data twist. The platform looks at a pile of data to figure out which students are most at risk for falling behind, then provides the teacher options for intervention before the failure point. Teachers can also suggest apps to students and track which ones are working to improve students’ performance.

The company says it’s raised a $85 million funding round led by an unnamed institutional asset manager, with participation from Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Graham Holdings, Four Rivers Group, Aurion Capital, and existing investors New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures.

Silicon Valley Bank also provided debt financing in this round. The investment brings the company’s total funds raised to $165 million.

D2L says it’s had a year of record growth leading up to the new funding round. CEO Baker says the D2L software is used by 1,000 schools and more than 15 million students.

“By developing solutions that improve learner achievement, increase retention rates and inspire greater engagement, we’re empowering our customers to help learners reach their full potential,” said D2L CEO John Baker in a statement. “This latest round of funding will help us scale faster globally, expand our services and continue to deliver solutions that personalize learning.”

D2L has 760 employees in Canada, the U.S., Singapore, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.K. The company says it will hire hundreds more people in the next year or so.

More information:

Desire2Learn is helping to transform the way the world learns. We provide the next generation learning environment and solutions to engage and inspire learners lifelong. We help our clients break down barriers to accessing the highest ... read more »

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5 comments
Michael J Davis
Michael J Davis

D2L is the worst. It is the most user UN-friendly web app I've ever used. It has a horrible UI on top of a hand cranked system that is hard to even try and figure out how to use.

Sam LaBine
Sam LaBine

It's actually an awful platform from a student perspective

Martin Oxby
Martin Oxby

Don't think I like the generalisation that big data is *usually* used to fatten wallets. Charities need it, the health service runs on it, national intelligence need it. Be *really* careful in generalisations, please.