Desire2Learn raises $80 million in venture funding

Tue Sep 4, 2012 7:29pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Desire2Learn Inc, a Canadian technology company that develops online learning systems, said on Tuesday that it secured $80 million in venture funding to help strengthen its infrastructure and boost its prospects for growth.

The privately held company is based in Ontario's Kitchener-Waterloo area, near BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO.

Desire2Learn said the backing comes from U.S. venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures - the venture capital arm of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, one of Canada's largest pension fund managers.

Desire2Learn Chief Executive John Baker said in an interview that the plan would allow the company to focus on research and development.

The company builds cloud-based learning systems that provide online learning platforms for a base of more than 700 clients, which include higher education institutes and universities, along with government and corporate sector customers.

The terms of the financing were not disclosed, but the deal gives the venture investors a minority interest, Baker said.

The $80 million capital raise is Desire2Learn's first round of financing, and it also marks the largest-ever venture capital investment in a Canadian software company, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"The company has been called on by many private equity and venture groups over the last seven years. We only really decided to go down this path three months ago," Baker said. "We ran a very, very tight process with a very small number of top tier firms."

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