Halifax's Compilr Acquired by Lynda.com

Posted by Peter Moreira
Compilr, a Halifax startup that teaches people how to code, has been acquired by lynda.com, a Carpinteria, Calif.-based online education company, for an undisclosed sum.

Founder Patrick Hankinson said last September he was willing to sell all or part of Compilr, and that he would be willing to continue with the company as a standalone company if he didn’t receive the price he wanted. Obviously, Lynda.com stepped forward with the right price.

Founded in 1995, lynda.com provides individual and enterprise customers with access to the lynda.com video library, which provides training in software, technology, creative, and business skills.

Compilr will allow it to teach its clients coding, which it views as a key competency given that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts software developer employment will grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022.

“We recognize the growing market demand for programming language instruction and are committed to providing a broad range of high-quality computer programming courses,” Eric Robison, president and CEO of lynda.com said in a statement. “This aligns with our learning philosophy and allows us to maintain and grow our market leadership.”

Hankinson said this morning that he and Co-Founder Tim Speed will continue to operate Compilr from Halifax and grow the operations.

“We are very excited for this acquisition,” said Hankinson. “From a technology perspective, it is gratifying knowing technology built in Nova Scotia becomes part of the lynda.com family.  Although we cannot talk about the specifics of the acquisition, I can attest that everyone is extremely happy with the outcome of the deal. “

Hankinson launched Compilr in the summer of 2011 as a tool that would let people write code on their browser. It was exciting new technology that earned Hankinson awards at the 2011 SeedCamp New York and a trip to the SeedCamp finals in London. (Our blog on his trip to SeedCamp was the seventh article ever to appear on Entrevestor.) 

But he had no clear revenue model so he, Speed and a team of programmers spent a few years developing an online academy to teach people to write code. It attracted hundreds of thousands of users and allowed the company to start charging.

In October 2012, Compilr began an emailing campaign to its clients advertising its premium products, and it upped the subscription price from $4.95 to $10. There was an immediate jump in revenue, and last summer the company decided it would no longer offer the free service to new clients (other than a 14-day trial period). As of last summer, revenue was increasing 20 percent per month.

This exit is already increasing the stature of Hankinson. At 26, he has developed and exited Compilr, and was one of the founders of the wildly successful Tether, which won the 2010 I-3 Competition. He’s also been involved in several smaller side projects.

In public appearances, he has joked that he pitched Compilr to 35 venture capital funds with no result. But that now means that the benefits of the exit are claimed almost entirely by the founding team.

The other winners:  the Volta startup house was home to Compilr for a few months, and can now claim a successful exit among its charges; and mentorship expert Permjot Valia, who took Hankinson to SeedCamp in the summer of 2011.

Editor's note: TechCrunch suggests the value of the transaction is in the ballpark of $20 million.

This article first appeared on Entrevestor.

Company:
Compilr
Website:
http://compilr.com
Location:
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Compilr is an online IDE, freeing you to write and compile code for a variety of platforms from any major web browser. Compilr is constantly evolving in step with changes in the development world, integrating the newest and most relevant development platforms and languages. more


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Peter Moreira

Peter Moreira

Peter Moreira spent more than 30 years in journalism in Asia, Europe and North America. He worked with The Deal of New York, covering M&A, private equity and VC markets in the U.S. and Canada for six years and serving four years as London Bureau Chief. At Bloomberg, he covered European and U.K. banking and finance. He previously worked for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong,... more



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