LMS Startup Instructure Canvas receives $8M in Series B round

Instructure, a Salt Lake City-based startup that recently entered into educational learning management market (LMS) introducing Canvas, has closed $8 million in Series B round of funding. The round was led by OpenVeiw Venture Partners, EPIC Ventures, TomorrowVentures, and Tim Draper, team member of Draper Fisher Jurveston. Firas Raouf of OpenView has joined the board of Instructure Canvas as part of funding. The company will use this funding for hiring more staff and scale up the operations to meet the market requirement.

The startup provides cloud-based LMS with brand name Canvas that offers extensive features centered on user-friendliness, integrated grade-book, assessment tools, discussion boards, web chat, rubric, and multiple assignment submission options. The grading tools offered by Instructure Canvas facilitate the educators by reducing the time spent on grading.

Instructure Canvas was co-founded in 2008 by computer science graduates, Josh Coates, the present CEO of the company, Brian Whitmer, and Devlin Daley, at Brigham Young University. Coats had also worked at the university on a volunteer position in 2007.

“We’re here for the long haul,” the official press release issued by the startup quoted Josh Coates saying. “Our mission is to relieve teachers and students in all levels of education of antiquated technology. The investment will be used to scale the company’s operations and to keep up with market demand.”

Canvas went open source on February 1st of this year, making it accessible to thousands of schools districts and universities that have begun evaluating it and engaged Instructure in their plans to transition their existing LMS solutions. Currently more than 30 education institutions have switched from Blackboard to Canvas.

“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.”

Canvas claims leveraging the leading edge of web technologies by using 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.