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Instructure, Inc.
Russell 2000 Component
IndustryEducational Technology
Learning Management Systems
Salt Lake City, Utah
United States of America
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Josh Coates, executive chairman, Dan Goldsmith, CEO[1]
ProductsCanvas, Bridge, Arc, Gauge, Practice
Revenue$158.8 million for FY2017[2]
Number of employees

Instructure, Inc. is an educational technology company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the developer of the Canvas learning management system, which is a comprehensive cloud-native software package that competes with such systems as Blackboard Learning System, Moodle, D2L and Sakai Project. Instructure also developed Canvas Network,[3] a massive open online course (MOOC) platform.


Instructure was founded in 2008 by two BYU graduate students, Brian Whitmer and Devlin Daley,[4] with initial funding from Mozy founder Josh Coates (currently the executive chairman of the Board)[5] and Epic Ventures.[6]

In December 2010, the Utah Education Network (UEN), which represents a number of Utah colleges and universities, announced that Instructure would be replacing Blackboard as their preferred LMS.[7] By January, 2013, Instructure's LMS platform was in use by more than 300 colleges, universities and K-12 districts, and the company's customer base had increased to more than 425 halfway through 2013 and 9 million users by the end of 2013.[8][9]

In February 2011, Instructure announced that they were making their flagship product, Canvas, freely available under an AGPL license as open source software. Instructure's announcement received coverage in the press.[10][11][12][13] In February 2012, the company launched Canvas K-12.[14]

In November 2012, Instructure entered the massive open online course market by launching Canvas Network.[15]

In June 2013, Instructure secured $30 Million in Series D Funding, bringing their lifetime funding total to $50M.[16] In February, 2015, Instructure raised another $40 Million in Series E Funding, raising their lifetime funding total to $90M. CEO Josh Coates described it as "a pre-IPO round."[17] On November 13, 2015, Instructure began trading as a publicly held company on the New York Stock Exchange.[18]



Instructure Inc. was created in order to support the continued development of a new learning management system (LMS) originally named Instructure. Once incorporated, the founders changed the name of the software to Canvas. The Utah-based company tested the LMS at several local schools including Utah State University and Brigham Young University before officially launching Canvas. Canvas is now used by more than 3,000 universities, school districts, and institutions around the world.[19]

Canvas was built using Ruby on Rails as the web application framework backed by a PostgreSQL database. It incorporates JQuery, HTML5, and CSS3 to provide a modern user interface. OAuth is used to provide limited access to a user's information on certain social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to allow for collaboration between sites. Canvas operates as a software as a service using Amazon Web Services in the "Cloud".

In 2011, Canvas launched their iOS app, and in 2013, their Android app, enabling mobile access to the Canvas learning platform.[20] The apps were eventually split into Canvas Student and Canvas Teacher, separating features for students and instructors. In 2016, Canvas launched Canvas Parent, their mobile app for parents, for both iOS and Android, allowing parents of K–12 students stay informed on their children's assignments, grades and overall schooling.[21]

Canvas K-12[edit]

In February 2012, Instructure launched Canvas K-12, an LMS platform designed for the specific needs of elementary and secondary schools.[22] The LMS enrolls parents with their students to provide greater visibility into their children's learning experience and provides actionable analytics to teachers and administrators.

Canvas Network[edit]

In November 2012, Instructure entered the massive open online course MOOC market by launching Canvas Network.[23] Instructure's approach to MOOC has been to facilitate experimentation with pedagogy and new ways to use multimedia environments to change cognition and enhance the learning process. One example is "Gender Through Comic Books," a MOOC taught by Ball State University's Christina Blanch on Canvas Network that used lessons from pop culture to explore evolving social norms and other anthropological ideals.[24]

In July 2013, Instructure partnered with Qualtrics, a Utah-based company, to survey MOOC participants on Instructure's Canvas Network about their motivations for enrolling in and completing these courses.[25] The results suggested that educators rethink ways to fully leverage the online learning environment to make the educational experience more engaging and interesting.


On February 18, 2015, Instructure officially launched Bridge,[26] their new cloud-based corporate LMS. This launch followed $40 million raised in Series E funding, led by Insight Venture Partners. EPIC Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners also participated in the funding.[27] This round raised their total lifetime funding to close to $90 million. At launch, Bridge served six corporate clients, including Oregon State University, which had also been using Instructure's Canvas LMS for their students.[17] Bridge now serves more than 500 clients.[28][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Instructure Announces CEO Transition". Instructure. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Instructure 2017 Annual Report" (pdf). Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  3. ^ Canvas Network
  4. ^ Sara Israelsen-Hartley (June 20, 2010). "BYU grads introduce education-savvy software". Deseret News. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  5. ^ Neely, Karissa. "Instructure CEO change, Survey shows affordable housing concern, Powerful U Experience event". The Daily Herald. The Daily Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Instructure CrunchBase Profile". CrunchBase. Interserve dba TechCrunch. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "New Statewide Learning Management System Selected". UEN News. Utah Education Network. December 14, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  8. ^ Empson, Rip. "With 4.5M Users, Instructure Takes On The Courseras & Udacities Of The World With Its Own Open Course Network". TechCrunch.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Dan Dzombak (February 2, 2011). "A Fiery New Competitor". The Motley Fool. The Motley Fool, LLC. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  11. ^ Michael Arrington (January 31, 2011). "Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities". Interserve dba TechCrunch. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  12. ^ Josh Keller (January 31, 2011). "Upstart Course-Management Provider Goes Open Source". Wired Campus. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  13. ^ Christopher Dawson (February 1, 2011). "There are alternatives to Blackboard and Moodle: Instructure Canvas goes open source". ZDNet Education. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  14. ^ Canvas K-12:
  15. ^ Rip Empson (October 31, 2012). "With 4.5M Users, Instructure Takes On The Courseras & Udacities Of The World With Its Own Open Course Network - TechCrunch". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  16. ^ "Instructure Secures $30 Million in Series D Funding - MarketWatch". Market Watch. June 5, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Locke, Charley (2015-02-24). "Instructure Plots Path to IPO, Corporate Customers After $40M Series E". Edsurge.
  18. ^ Schaffler, Rhonda (2015-11-13). "Instructure IPO Debuts on NYSE With Double-Digit Gain". TheStreet.
  19. ^ "About us".
  20. ^ "Instructure Releases Canvas for Android". canvaslms. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Canvas Announces New, First-of-its-kind Mobile App for Parents". canvaslms. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Box spins Embed, OneCloud for educational use at K-12 schools, universities". ZDNET.
  23. ^ Nagel, David. "Instructure Creates Free 'Canvas Network' for Online Courses". Campus Technology.
  24. ^ Knox, Kelly. "New Online Course Explores Gender Through Comic Books". Wired.
  25. ^ F. Carr, David. "MOOC Students Attracted Most By Course Topics". Information Week.
  26. ^ Buhr, Sarah (2015-02-18). "On The Way To An IPO, Education Technology Startup Instructure Is Close To Raising A Big New Round". TechCrunch.
  27. ^ Marino, Jonathan (2015-02-18). "Education tech startup Instructure has raised $40 million". Business Insider.
  28. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]