Instructure acquires Portfolio in $ 43 million deal


In November 2017, Instructure, the Utah-based company and owner of LMS Canvas, made its first major acquisition by acquiring Practice, a video learning platform. In 2018, Instructure launched a partner-booster program, which seemed to further indicate the company’s interest in partnering with other edtech startups. On February 19, the company announced its intention to acquire Portfolio.

About Portfolio

Portfolio, founded in San Diego in 2014, is best known for its electronic wallet platform. It was originally designed to help graduates share their portfolios with potential employers and ease the transition from college to full-time work. But as reported on eLearning inside Last fall at least some universities, including Princeton University, are now using Portfolio to help their own student bodies bond on campus.

To date, Portfolio has served over 4 million students and 40,000 educators in over 3,500 high schools and universities. In addition, 200 other partner institutions have used Portfolio to manage and align learning outcome assessments and support guided learning paths. Portfolio is also widely adopted as a badge platform. While Portfolio primarily partners with institutions based in the United States, it has started to expand internationally.

Acquisition of infrastructure

In a press release issued on February 19, Instructure CEO Dan Goldsmith said, “Working with Portfolio advances our mission. Concretely, this will allow the company to better support users in the transition from school to the workplace. Goldsmith added, “Portfolio has been a great partner for us. Together with their team, and adding their student success capabilities built on the core network of learners, together we will deliver more value to current and new customers.

Adam Markowitz, Founder and CEO of Portfolio, is also excited about the acquisition and what it means for the future development of the Portfolio platform:

“We created Portfolio to link learning to opportunity by enabling students to recognize, present and articulate the skills and competencies they acquire during their academic journey. We have been a proud partner of Instructure for years and are excited to expand our vision to support lifelong learning and development as part of the Instructure family.

What this means for both companies

For Instructure, the acquisition of Portfolio has a lot to offer. Despite the high price tag, the acquisition of Portfolio will allow Instructure to potentially further control the learning management systems (LMS) market at the college level. As post-secondary institutions become more concerned with not only supporting students on campus, but also helping them find jobs and continue to grow after graduation, a platform like Portfolio has the potential to add value to Instucture’s LMS Canvas. Likewise, Portfolio also has a lot to gain from the agreement.

Canvas is now the most popular LMS in North America. In September 2018, e-Literacy reported that Canvas now has 35% of the market while its closest competitor, Blackboard Inc., only has 33%. Given Instructure’s growing market dominance, it seems likely that the acquisition will allow Portfolio to enter new markets in the United States and Canada and potentially worldwide.

While Instructure’s acquisition of Portfolio may be new, their partnership is not. The companies launched an integration in 2016, which allowed students to share information on both platforms. The new acquisition will create new opportunities to deepen the existing platform integration and expand Portfolio’s presence on campuses where Canvas has already been adopted. It also seems likely that the acquisition could lead more colleges and universities to adopt Portfolio to support student life and extracurricular development on campus, which Princeton University is already doing.

photo by Brooke Cagle to Unsplash.

About Marjorie C. Hudson

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