Online personal and professional continuing education company lynda.com has raised $186 million at a roughly $1 billion valuation to go shopping for education technology companies.
It’s the second mammoth round for Lynda, following a $100 million initial investment from Accel Partners, Spectrum Equity and Meritech. The new round was led by TPG, a private equity firm with some $65 billion worth of assets under management.
For lynda.com, the new round is all about a shopping allowance. The company already has letters of intent out with three potential acquisition targets and has several more companies in its sights, according to an interview with the company’s chief executive, Eric Robison.
One investor familiar with the market for online education said that the company may look to bring in programming tutorial companies like Thinkful (which raised a round of funding recently) or Treehouse (which hasn’t).
Lynda.com divides its profitable business between a consumer-facing portal that allows users to access any of its hundreds of courses in topics ranging from business classes, to technology training, to creative and design training.
According to Robison, Lynda.com will look to add another 150 to 250 employees to its roster of 550 current staff members.
Lynda.com has a library of 5,700 classes with 255,000 video tutorials in English, French, German and Spanish.
The massive funding for lynda.com comes as the U.S. continues to spend on continuing education. Some estimates put the total annual spending in the country at $55 billion for adult and continuing education.
An evolving workplace, demanding more technical skills from employees even in manufacturing jobs, coupled with the high price of a traditional degree and the continued demand for skilled developers and programmers, have made education a priority for professionals.
And literally hundreds of education companies have cropped up online (and offline) to attempt solve some part of the problem and salve the fear among the professional class.
Now, with the new round, lynda.com has not only girded itself for combat, it’s received a massive cash pile that it can drop on any fledgling company in education.