Desire2Learn has been around since 1999, and John Baker, CEO and founder of the company, has made it a point of pride that the company has grown to over 500 employees without external funding. From a financial perspective, however, the Canadian company just reversed its long-standing approach and raised $80 million in venture capital (VC) funding. From a strategy perspective, there are no changes – rather a plan to accelerate the corporate growth based on the existing strategy. This might seem to be a large investment for this situation, but Desire2Learn’s two VC investors clearly think the possibilities are just now emerging.

The two venture capital firms behind the investment are OMERS Ventures, the VC arm of a Canadian pension fund, and New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the lead investors in Coursera and Edmodo. The $80 million is the 5th largest north american series A VC deal and the largest ever VC deal for a Canadian software company.


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