February 9, 2015

Blackboard’s $500 million history of acquisitions

When today's adults were students, showing up for class required pen, paper and a stack of books. Today's classroom is very different. Technology firms have seized the opportunity to redesign learning platforms for K-12 students, developing apps and supportive software to take learning online. From assignment submissions to syllabi, many schools have embraced cloud and web-based learning platforms designed to save paper, streamline efficiency and make studying more responsive and interactive. 

One of the leaders in that segment of the tech sphere is Blackboard, a company that builds learning platforms for schools. The company has announced a series of acquisitions, most recently acquiring Schoolwires. The company builds and maintains websites for schools, an important feature for seamlessly integrating classroom technology into an academic environment. As more teachers come to depend on cloud and web-based teaching tools, Blackboard's footprint stands to grow even bigger than it is today with an aggressive acquisition strategy

In July, CEO Jay Bhatt announced that there was an "avalanche" of acquisitions in the Blackboard development pipeline. Around 2006, the firm got serious about expanding its footprint and now boasts 11 million users worldwide, primarily in the U.S. and China. The company was founded in 1997 and has successfully kept up with the evolving tech market for secondary education, emerging as a major player in the field. 

"Today's news takes Blackboard's total acquisition count up to 11 in the past 5 years alone, having taken on ParentLink (2014), CardSmith (2014), Perceptis (2014), NetSpot (2012), Moodlerooms (2012), Presidium Learning (2011), Elluminate (2010), Wimba (2010), and Saf-T-Net (2010)," reports VentureBeat. "Between 2006 and 2012, it's estimated that Blackboard spent around $500 million buying other companies."

The classroom technology industry is ripe for acquisitions, and your company could be the next strategic purchase for a giant like Blackboard.