Back in May, we shared the unique story of Lynda.com, the veteran, video-based education platform, and how it was able to generate $70 million in revenue in 2011 without taking a penny from outside investors. Since then, it’s continued chugging along, growing revenue to $100 million in 2012.
Founded in 1995 by husband-and-wife team Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman, in the Facebook and Instagram Era, Lynda.com is not your typical tech startup. Compared to its competition, the company is ancient. It’s eschewed venture capital, was founded (and is still led) by a happily married couple, is subscription based, has been profitable for 15 years and is based in a small town in Southern California — not in Silicon Valley, New York or Los Angeles.
Part of the reason for this is the advantage of being a first mover, as the company started building its library of educational, how-to videos long before YouTube, Khan Academy or the Courseras of the world entered the picture. Today, it has 83K videos in its library. By creating professional-quality video courses taught by bona fide industry experts, working professionals and veteran teachers and offering full access for a monthly subscription fee of $25, Lynda.com has attracted over two million paying users and is now working with the majority of Ivy League Schools and companies like Sony, Pixar, Disney, Time Warner and HBO to supplement their employee learning content.
Thanks to this simple, yet effective model and the growing popularity of online education, the company’s growth has accelerated exponentially in the last two years. Last month, the company added PopCap CTO and long-time Adobe exec Frits Habermann as CTO to help it move into international markets and develop a mobile strategy, followed by the hiring of former Saba Software CFO and Gaia Online COO, Elaine Kitagawa as CFO.
With its senior leadership in place, the company has finally decided to give in to the long-standing interest from investment firms, announcing today that it has raised $103 million in growth equity from Accel Partners and Spectrum Equity, with contributions from Meritech Capital Partners. Again, the financing is the first outside funding in the company’s 17-year history and sees Andrew Braccia of Accel and Vic Parker of Spectrum joining the company’s board of directors.
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