Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Lynda.com Raises a Whopping $103M in First Outside Funding for Video Lessons

Lynda.com, the 18-year-old provider of online training videos, has been profitable for almost all of that time and had more than $100 million in revenue last year.

Lynda.comNow it has another $103 million in the bank, courtesy of Accel Partners, Spectrum Equity and Meritech Capital Partners.

Why now? “We’re finally at the place where we can leverage outside funding,” said Lynda.com CEO Eric Robison.

Investors had been wanting a stake in the company for quite some time, Robison said; in fact, for the past four years Lynda.com had been sending its private financial results with the investors it ultimately chose.

Lynda, which offers software, creative and business courses, is currently all about video — 83,000 of them in 1,500 courses — with little focus on organized classes and community. That’s in contrast to some of its newly famous online learning brethren, like MOOC providers Udacity and Coursera.

Instead, a big benefit of Lynda for its $25-per-month subscribers is the fact that they can search for chunks of lessons that correspond specifically to something they need to get done in that moment. “We have members who use us exclusively as a reference,” Robison said.

Besides personal customers, Lynda also sells to companies, schools and the U.S. government, which it says includes “all branches of the U.S. military and all cabinet-level departments of the U.S. federal government.”

The company employs 400 people and runs its own studio in Carpinteria, Calif. Robison said he expects to apply some of the new funding to localizing videos so it can expand internationally. He’s also interested in different business models, like a freemium offering.

What he doesn’t see on the horizon — despite the new outside funding — is an IPO. “These investors are long-term focused,” Robison said.

Venture capitalists like online learning companies these days. Lynda competitor Pluralsight also just raised a large round of funding, which was also its first-ever outside investment.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik