Public education: Kitchener e-learning company D2L gears up for TSX debut

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KITCHENER – E-learning company D2L Inc. is preparing to go public and plans to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Kitchener-based company has filed a preliminary prospectus with securities regulators for its initial public offering and has applied to be listed under the symbol DTOL.

No closing date has been specified, and the price and total number of shares to be offered have not yet been determined.

D2L is said to be the second local company to go public this year, after shares in Waterloo-based Magnet Forensics began trading in April.

Formerly Desire2Learn, the education technology company was founded in 1999 by John Baker, a 22-year-old systems design engineering student at the University of Waterloo.

D2L’s flagship product, the cloud-based software platform Brightspace, provides a personalized experience for students of all ages, from kindergarten to college, and is equally at home in the corporate training markets or improvement.

The company said it had more than 15 million users worldwide at the end of August.

Now President and CEO, Baker described D2L’s origins, goals and growth opportunities in a letter included in the prospectus.

“Inspired by my own family of educators and my experiences in college, an idea sparked my imagination one day as I was walking around campus – learning is the basis of progress and the impact of working in this field. would have a ripple effect from person to person. the next and spills over across generations, communities, businesses and cultures, ”he wrote.

Baker said the digital transformation of the global economy was exploding, forcing workers to upgrade and update their skills in order to keep pace. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the need for e-learning options, preventing students from going to class and forcing others who have found themselves unemployed to seek retraining programs. .

“I see this as a historic opportunity to switch to a more human learning experience. Now is the time to move away from the old industrial age model of learning which assumes everyone is progressing at the same pace, and where we measure learning by looking at time spent, exam results or the number of hours spent on compliance or professional courses, “Baker wrote.

“Everyone is unique and we need to meet learners where they are today, tailor pathways and engage learners to help them achieve results they never imagined possible. “

In its prospectus, the company said it was part of the $ 13.6 billion “learning environment” marketplace in 2019 and is expected to reach $ 43 billion in 2025, according to the HolonIQ market intelligence analyst.

D2L saw its customer base increase by 33% to reach 970 during fiscal year 2021 (ended January 31), compared to 730 during fiscal 2020, against an increase of 12% between fiscal 2019 and 2020.

The company’s growth strategy includes “strategic acquisitions”, an expanded customer base and greater international reach; the prospectus notes less than 20 percent of total revenue came from outside of North America in fiscal 2021.

Going public will continue the journey “on our path to becoming the category leader in learning,” Baker said.

The financial results included in the prospectus show revenues of US $ 126.4 million for fiscal 2021, up more than 15% from the previous year. The company reported an overall loss for the period of US $ 41.7 million, up from US $ 5.7 million the previous year.

According to the prospectus, D2L is targeting annual revenue growth of 20-25% by fiscal 2025.


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