Local eLearning company Desire2Learn Announces $80 million in Venture
WATERLOO REGION, ON, Sept. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - The diverse tech sector in
Waterloo Region continues to grow, attracting major investments in an
area that's home to almost 1,000 tech companies. One of the Region's
breakout companies and Canada's largest eLearning software company Desire2Learn today announced that it has raised $80 million from two top venture
funds, signaling a major expansion for the firm. Earlier this year,
Communitech announced a $30 million+ seed funding program to further
spur innovation in the Region and beyond.
"Waterloo Region has cracked the code on creating great tech companies,"
said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech. "This news from Desire2Learn, a
company which has been on a growth trajectory and has already hired
more than 200 people in 2012, is the latest global success story to
emerge here. We're pleased to congratulate Desire2Learn CEO John Baker
and his team for achieving this milestone and inspiring others to reach
for the brass ring."
The investment, announced on the first day of school in Ontario, is the
largest Series A round to date for a software company in Canada. It
involves U.S.-based New Enterprise Associates (NEA) Inc., which recently raised a $2.6-billion fund - and OMERS Ventures, the VC arm of one of Canada's largest pension funds.
"With a pool of talent and superlative innovation under way in the
Region, infusion of capital to jump-start new ventures is the next step
to fueling even more companies like Desire2Learn," Klugman said.
"Communitech welcomed the recent news that Canada is now ranked the
second most attractive country in the world for venture capital
according to the Global Venture Capital and Private Equity Country
The tech sector in Waterloo Region comprises some 400 startups, hundreds
of small-medium enterprises, and large enterprises that have grown to
global fame from Waterloo roots. In addition to Desire2Learn being
Canada's largest eLearning company, Waterloo Region is home to Canada's
largest tech company Research In Motion, Canada's largest software
company OpenText, Canada's largest satellite company COM DEV, and one
of the world's top producers of visual technology displays, Christie
Digital Systems Canada Inc.
Desire2Learn, like OpenText, was created with brainpower honed at the
University of Waterloo. Desire2Learn CEO John Baker started the company
as a fourth-year university student in 1999, and his venture now
employs more than 560 employees - expanding daily - serving 700 clients
and more than 8 million eLearners around the world. The company has
extended its solutions beyond K-12 schools and post-secondary
institutions, to government and corporate clients.
Tech entrepreneurship in Waterloo Region is nurtured organically through
programs designed to attract students to maths and sciences in the K-12
system, followed by post-secondary education at two universities or
colleges in the Region, and then through a collaborative community of
some 1,000 tech companies, with coaching and support from deliberate
ecosystem support programs.
One of those programs fostering innovation is Communitech's HYPERDRIVE,
a $30 million+ startup incubator which is currently shepherding its
first cohort of eight startups through a three-month initial phase that
will include a stint in New York City at the heart of the financial
"With a strong tech ecosystem, supportive funding and mentoring programs
in place, a positive tech community with a mix of startups, mid-sized
companies and global multi-nationals, Waterloo Region is poised to see
many more success stories emerge from what is fast becoming recognized
as Canada's top tech innovation hub," said Klugman.
Founded by a group of dedicated entrepreneurs in 1997, Communitech www.communitech.ca is the regional hub for the commercialization of innovative
technologies supporting and building a Southwestern Ontario tech
cluster of almost 1,000 companies that now generates more than $25B in
revenue. A member of the Ontario Network of Excellence, Communitech
supports tech companies at all stages of their growth and development -
from startup companies, to rapidly growing SMEs, to large global
players - to create greater numbers of successful global businesses for
Ontario and for Canada.
SOURCE: Communitech Ltd.
For further information:
Shelley Grandy, Sr. PR Advisor, Communitech, 905-866-2656 or firstname.lastname@example.org