Josh Coates, CEO of Instructure, named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 National Technology Award winner

josh coates_circleJosh Coates, CEO of Instructure, the company responsible for developing the cloud-based learning management system (LMS), Canvas, has been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 National Technology Award winner.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award, a leading business award for entrepreneurs, encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.

Coates was recognized for creating a company that has significantly disrupted the online education experience, transitioning Instructure from a traditional higher education company to a learning technology. Instructure is the company behind Canvas, an easy-to-use, cloud-based learning management system (LMS) that connects all the digital tools and resources teachers need into one simple place.  Canvas offers educational applications across all academic levels, not just the traditional higher education space, and today Coates is leading the way in bringing this type of system to professional development and training.   Coates was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is a gathering for the nation’s leading CEOs of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in 10 additional categories.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges and from more than 250 regional award recipients.

“Josh Coates has an incredible ability to read markets, know exactly what they need, and capitalize on that need with an innovative product,” said Mike Kacsmar, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Americas Program Director.  “His entrepreneurial spirit and visionary approach to the LMS market – a market that had not seen much innovation in the previous 10 years – has allowed him to push Instructure and its products into new territories – far beyond what others and competitors thought possible.”

A Path of Success
Coates came out of academia to take on the LMS market, putting a long history of entrepreneurship to work. He founded his first company, Scale Eight, a scalable storage software tech company, in 1999.  He sold it to Intel four years later. He went on to found Berkeley Data Systems ( in 2005, which he sold as well. The lessons he learned during these experiences, such as how to fundraise and scale a company from the ground up, gave him the tools needed to push Instructure to become a major player in the education space.

When Coates joined Instructure, the company had zero revenue, but in just 30 months under Coates’ leadership, the company has soared. In 2011, Instructure launched Canvas, its cloud-based learning management system, and three years later, it boasts more than 11 million active users.

Fostering Innovation
Coates recognized that in order to build a game-changing company, he would need the industry’s best talent. At Instructure, he built a leadership team that possessed the credentials and experience to navigate the competitive education technology landscape and the ability to foster a culture of open collaboration and creativity – a skill he believes is critical to innovation. Coates opts not to sit in a corner office; instead, his desk is among others to allow him to partake in the collaboration and innovation happening at Instructure.

Coates didn’t stop innovating with the creation of the system itself. Instead, Instructure has made a name for itself with Canvas Network’s groundbreaking courses, including a recent partnership with University of California, Irvine and cable channel AMC to teach science, math and health via a Massive Open Online Course based on “The Walking Dead” TV show.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 National Technology finalists:
In addition to Coates, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Technology finalists were:
Alex Kazerani, Chairman and CEO and James Segil, President, of EdgeCast Networks, based in Santa Monica, Calif.; John Marshall, CEO and Founder, AirWatch, based in Atlanta, Ga; and Dwight Merriman, co-founder and Chairman, MongoDB, based in New York, NY.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 National Overall Award winner
Dr. David Hung of Medivation was named the EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM 2014 National Overall Award winner.

Video and photos
To view photos of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, please visit

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the US by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


About EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

About EY’s Strategic Growth Markets Network
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