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Instructure is back on the stock market, but not many changes expected for Canvas users




Instructure is officially a publicly traded company again.

Officials at the company, which makes the Canvas learning management system used in many colleges and schools, rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange today, marking its IPO.

It’s a return of the INST ticker symbol for the company, which first went public in 2015, but was subsequently shut down last March when Instructure was bought by private equity firm Thoma Bravo for nearly $ 2. billions of dollars. The original price today was $ 20 per share, which means the company estimates it will raise $ 250 million.

Today’s decision is expected to have little impact on company strategy, which means little will change for teachers who use Canvas. That’s because even with the IPO, Thoma Bravo will retain controlling interest in Instructure, notes Phil Hill, consultant and edtech blogger.

I don’t see it as having an impact because most IPOs are really money management, he told EdSurge today. In other words, the movement helps Thoma Bravo manage the debt he has accumulated when he bought the company.

The shrugs of today’s watchers are very different from the uproar around the Instructures sale last year. At that time, some shareholders complained that they did not get a good enough deal in the deal. Meanwhile, some educators feared the company would profit by selling off the privacy of its users. The specific concern came from a statement by then-CEO Dan Goldsmith, who boasted at an investor conference that the company was developing algorithms based on user data that would give it a competitive advantage. on the market.

In response to concerns about the privacy of college executives, the company formed a new student data privacy committee and took other steps to try to reassure customers.

and infrastructure latest flyer doesn’t mention big plans to use data or algorithms, Hill notes. They are clearly not pushing the claims of their former CEO, he adds. They weren’t the bad company that tried to use the data to change their strategy.

One of the most vocal critics of the sale last year was Cristina Colquhoun, an educational developer at Oklahoma State University libraries, who coordinated a letter-writing effort urging the company to publicly commit. more strongly in favor of student confidentiality. In an email interview today, she said:

“I am so grateful for the work Instructure has done to advance the cause of student data privacy. However, it is a company that provides a service and is bound by the demand of its customers. it’s also, if not more important, that we ask our individual institutions to have conversations about student data privacy and challenge them to do better. We can ask education technology companies to protect our students, but our institutions are the ones that set the precedent for what is acceptable and what is.So I encourage everyone to be aware of their institutions’ data practices and, whenever it is safe for you, to ask questions and promote healthy dialogue. “

IPO season

The IPO, however, is part of an IPO trend for electronics technology companies. While it was rare for an edtech company to go public, these days there are so many IPOs or IPOs in the industry that it’s easy to lose track. Coursera, which sells online courses through top colleges, went public earlier this year. And Duolingo, a developer of language learning applications, and Powerschool, a student information and learning management system for schools, are also preparing to go public.

The reason for the IPO rush is simple, Hill argues. Pandemic school and college closures have led to a rush of enrollments and the use of edtech systems. And if you have all of these savings on paper in terms of student numbers and usage, the net effect is it’s time to get it. [investment] while obtaining is good.

If the public offering goes well and the company hits its expected valuation of $ 3 billion, it could give new impetus to the IPOs of other electronics tech companies, Hill adds.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated with a comment from Cristina Colquhoun.




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