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Instructure, Inc.
IndustryEducational Technology
Learning Management Systems
Salt Lake City, Utah
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
ProductsCanvas, Bridge, Studio, Gauge, Practice, MasteryConnect
Revenue$209.5 million (2018)[2]
Number of employees
1,291 (2019)
ParentThoma Bravo

Instructure, Inc. is an educational technology company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the developer and publisher of Canvas, a Web-based learning management system, and Canvas Network, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform. The company is owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.


Instructure was founded in 2008 by two BYU graduate students, Brian Whitmer and Devlin Daley,[3] with initial funding from Mozy founder Josh Coates (currently the executive chairman of the Board)[4] and Epic Ventures.[5]

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[6] supplier. By January 2013, Instructure's platform was in use by more than 300 colleges, universities and K–12 districts, and the company's customer base had increased to 9 million users by the end of 2013.[7][8]

In February 2011, Instructure announced that they were making their flagship product, Canvas, freely available under an AGPL license as open source software. The announcement received coverage in the press.[9][10][11][12] In February 2012, the company launched Canvas K–12.[13] As of 2020, while the core remains open source, according to its GitHub FAQ many of its functions and add-ons are proprietary.[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, it 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, the firm began trading as a publicly held company on the New York Stock Exchange.[18]

In 2016, Glassdoor named the firm #4 on its Best Places to Work list.[19] In 2018, the Salt Lake Tribune named it its #6 "Top Work Places" for large businesses.[20]

In December 2019, Instructure announced that Thoma Bravo would acquire the company for $2 billion.[21]



Canvas LMS interface.png
The interface of Canvas
Written inRuby on Rails
LicenseAGPLv3 Edit this on Wikidata

Instructure Inc. was created to support the continued development of a 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 the system. As of 2020, it is used in approximately 4,000 institutions around the world.[22][23]

In 2011, Canvas launched its iOS app, and in 2013, its Android app, enabling mobile access to the platform.[24] The apps were eventually split into Canvas Student and Canvas Teacher, separating features for students and instructors. In 2016, the firm launched Canvas Parent, their mobile app for parents, for both iOS and Android, allowing parents of K–12 students to stay informed on their children's assignments, grades, and overall schooling.[25][26]

In August 2020, 13 states across the United States confirmed a partnership with Instructure in order to adopt its Canvas LMS platform for their educational institutions. The states said that, by adopting Canvas as a statewide solution to the challenges raised by the global COVID-19 pandemic, they hoped to provide stronger support to educators and students.[27]

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.[28]

A feature is Canvas Commons which allows teachers to "share content, assessments, even entire courses with each other".[28]

Canvas Network[edit]

In November 2012, the firm entered the massive open online course (MOOC) market by launching Canvas Network.[29]

In July 2013, Instructure partnered with Qualtrics, a Utah-based company, to survey MOOC participants on Canvas Network about their motivations for enrolling in and completing these courses.[30]


On February 18, 2015, Instructure officially launched Bridge,[31] a 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.[32] 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 since fall 2015.[17] Bridge now serves more than 500 clients, but is expected to be sold off as part of the recent sale to Thoma Bravo.[33][34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Instructure Announces CEO Transition". Instructure. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  2. ^ "Instructure Company Profile". Craft. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Sara Israelsen-Hartley (June 20, 2010). "BYU grads introduce education-savvy software". Deseret News. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  4. ^ Neely, Karissa. "Instructure CEO change, Survey shows affordable housing concern, Powerful U Experience event". The Daily Herald. The Daily Herald. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Instructure CrunchBase Profile". CrunchBase. Interserve dba TechCrunch. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "New Statewide Learning Management System Selected". UEN News. Utah Education Network. December 14, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  7. ^ Empson, Rip. "With 4.5M Users, Instructure Takes On The Courseras & Udacities Of The World With Its Own Open Course Network". TechCrunch.
  8. ^ "Best LMS Software | 2020 Reviews of the Most Popular Tools & Systems".
  9. ^ Dan Dzombak (February 2, 2011). "A Fiery New Competitor". The Motley Fool. The Motley Fool, LLC. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  10. ^ Michael Arrington (January 31, 2011). "Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities". Interserve dba TechCrunch. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  11. ^ Josh Keller (January 31, 2011). "Upstart Course-Management Provider Goes Open Source". Wired Campus. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Canvas K12 | Digital Learning Platform". Instructure. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  14. ^ "GitHub - instructure/canvas-lms: The open LMS by Instructure, Inc". GitHub. Instructure, Inc. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  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. ^ "Working at Instructure". Glassdoor. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  20. ^ "Salt Lake Tribune Top Workplaces 2018". Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  21. ^ Aishwarya, Ambhini. "PE firm Thoma Bravo to buy Instructure in $2 billion all-cash deal". Reuters. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  22. ^ "About Canvas | Edtech Learning Platform | Instructure".
  23. ^ "Why Colleges and Universities Are Adopting Canvas". eLearningInside News. 2018-10-24. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  24. ^ "Instructure Releases Canvas for Android". canvaslms. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Canvas Announces New, First-of-its-kind Mobile App for Parents". canvaslms. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Box spins Embed, OneCloud for educational use at K-12 schools, universities". ZDNET.
  27. ^ Walbank, Josephine. "13 US states sign deal with Instructure Canvas". Global Education Times. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Education Technology Tools | Learning Platform | Canvas LMS". Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  29. ^ Nagel, David. "Instructure Creates Free 'Canvas Network' for Online Courses". Campus Technology.
  30. ^ F. Carr, David. "MOOC Students Attracted Most By Course Topics". Information Week.
  31. ^ Buhr, Sarah (2015-02-18). "On The Way To An IPO, Education Technology Startup Instructure Is Close To Raising A Big New Round". TechCrunch.
  32. ^ Marino, Jonathan (2015-02-18). "Education tech startup Instructure has raised $40 million". Business Insider.
  33. ^ "Instructure's (INST) CEO Josh Coates on Q1 2018 Results - Earnings Call Transcript". Seeking Alpha. April 30, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  34. ^ "Instructure Reports First Quarter 2018 Financial Results" (Press release). Instructure, Inc. April 30, 2018. Archived from the original on May 2, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2020.