It’s in the news here and there: Instructure, an up and coming open source learning management system, just closed its series D round of financing and banked $30 million (on top of the 20mm it’s raised to date from Venture Cap firms).

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$30 million is big money, but the real news, in my opinion was the Instructure CEO, Josh Coates’s assertion that the company would go public in the next “couple of years”. In any event, the 400 customers and mil lions in multi-year contracts that Instructure’s accumulated in the last few years show that it has the chops to stick around, but it also gives a lot of insight to the value and size of the LMS market in general.

The latest round of financing puts the value of Instructure at well north of 100 Million (depends on who you ask, but likely a multiple of that) which is based on its client list and trajectory for amassing new clients and contracts. Big money.

What’s that mean for Moodle and other more established LMSs though? Aside from Blackboard, which has grown in part through acquisitions as of late, other players like Edmodo, Desire2Learn and Moodle have had steady growth over the last few years and have also shown their ability to land large client lists and meet the needs of universities and educational institutions world-wide (both Desire2Learn and Edmodo are the recipients of huge VC funding as well).  Moodle, generally stands alone as a unique player in the edtech/LMS space as it is not built around a VC backed entity (though it has seen a few VC backed partners in the last few years, Moodlerooms for example).

If we were to consider the Moodle ecosystem in aggregate across all partners and users the client and user base is well beyond the numbers that other LMSes (VC backed or not). The size, scope and number of sites is an untold multiple of the stats we’re seeing from Instructure in the news. While each of the 83,000 registered sites is not a contract-worthy client, I have no doubt that the number of colleges, high schools and universities using enterprise level Moodle is well into the 1000s and continuing to grow. An aggregation of all clients of Moodle Partners would provide an accurate estimate. Based on that, what might Moodle’s ecosystem be valued at? I doubt it would be a far cry to claim the economic impact and value to be well over 1 billion dollars.

At its largest, Blackboard’s market cap was $1.5 billion when it was purchased by private equity (and even then Moodle had already shown that it’s was gaining on and would soon pass the marketshare of the Bb-behemoth). While I doubt Moodle could ever be purchased en masse (the ecosystem by design is distributed across partners and individuals), I’m pleased to be a part of a community which is equally valuable for its contributions to education as it is valuable to each of the local economies in which it operates.

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