Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities

Mozy Founder Josh Coates launches Instructure today. He’s hoping to disrupt the entrenched player in the University LMS space, Blackboard, and take a big part of its $377 million or so in revenue.

In 2007 EMC acquired Mozy, an online backup solution, for $76 million. Coates stayed for another year, then left.

Since then he’s been helping Nepalese refugees integrate into American society, and he’s a big WWII buff. He purchased and restored a M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer. You can see the restoration process here (he keeps it in his garage). And here’s a video of his wife blowing the crap out of the side of a gravel pit.

I like how Coates rolls. The guy has a fully operational M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer in his garage.

When he’s not blowing things up or helping other people, he teaches a venture startup course at Brigham Young University. And that’s where two of his students came up with the idea of making a better Blackboard. If you’ve been in college in the U.S. since around 2000, you’ll know all about Blackboard.

Last year the company raised around $1.5 million, nearly half from Coates himself, and got to work. They now have 20 employees and working with twenty six educational institutions, some of which have left Blackboard entirely.

Instructive is offering their Canvas LMS product as a hosted SaaS solution. Universities can also download an unsupported open source version of the product, or install a for-fee version with support.

Here’s a commercial the team created for the product, based on the Apple “1984” commercial. That flamethrower is also his. Watch to the very end to really see it in action.