Instructure Canvas grades own Learning Management System with $8m Series ‘B’

Instructure Canvas, a new entrant in the education learning management system market (LMS), has closed an US$8m Series B funding round, led by OpenView Venture Partners, EPIC Ventures, Tomorrow Ventures and Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurveston (DFJ).

“We’re here for the long haul” commented Josh Coates, CEO of Instructure. “Our mission is to relieve teachers and students, in all levels of education, from antiquated technology. The new 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 product as open source software. Since then, thousands of school districts and universities have begun evaluating Canvas and engaged Instructure in their plans to transition from their existing LMS solutions. The Salt Lake City, Utah based company now says it is servicing more than 30 educational institutions – the majority of which have switched from Blackboard to Canvas.

Outstanding User Experiences

“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.”

A Disruptive Play

“At EPIC, we were searching for a disruptive play to serve the dynamic needs of students in the 21st century” continued 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, which reduces the amount of time educators spend grading assignments.

Canvas pushes leading edge 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.