Q&A with John Baker on D2L’s Company Growth | D2L Asia Pacific
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Q&A with John Baker on D2L’s Company Growth

  • 4 Min Read

We’ve compiled market inquires about D2L’s performance and future growth plans in order to give you, our clients and users, insight into how we measure and account for our company growth. With that, we brought your questions straight to our President and CEO, John Baker.

Q: How does D2L measure growth?

John: We look at a lot of factors when talking about our growth, including number of clients, client retention, and the number of users of Brightspace, our integrated learning platform.  We also look at where we’ve expanded globally, the impact of our acquisitions, and the strength of the partnerships we are building.

Plus, we often report on other growth metrics, like the number of employees around the world.  D2L currently has 801 full-time employees, including our valuable co-op students. Earlier this year we completed a reorganization of our company, which allows us to focus on our integrated strategy for our products.  This type of change is never easy, but it was essential for us to move forward on our strategic growth plans and to bring consistency across our integrated learning platform.  Today, we are looking for top talent to fill nearly 100 open positions, over 60 of them in developer positions alone.

We are also often asked about revenue growth, which is a major aspect of our growth story but—as a private company—not something we make public. What we can say is that D2L revenue continues to grow year-over-year and that this has helped us attract $165M in investment from top-tier investors while maintaining focus on our mission. This is a great external validation of our growth.


Q: Can you give us some more details about these growth metrics?

John: Currently, D2L has over 1,100 organizations and 15 million users on the Brightspace platform. We’ve seen client growth climb steadily—last year we had just over 850 organizations using our platform and today we have over 1,100. And most importantly, we’ve maintained over 98% client retention.

We believe that outpacing our competition in R&D investment and our broadened learning solutions portfolio are big factors in why we see steady growth of organizations selecting D2L.


Q: Where are you seeing this customer growth come from?

John: We are seeing the bulk of our growth in our core market of North America. We’re also seeing strong growth internationally, including triple digit growth year over year in some regions. This is being driven by our work with great organizations such as Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Brazil, Singapore Management University in Singapore, the TAFE Queensland and Victoria University in Australia, and many others we’ll be announcing in the coming months.

We’re also seeing growth across all of the sectors we serve from K–12 to Higher Ed, and a rapidly growing client list in government and corporate.


Q: Is there such thing as growing too quickly? How does D2L maintain client service in the face of rapid growth?

John: Great question. As I mentioned earlier, D2L is currently used by over 1,100 organizations and over 15 million learners around the world. At the same time, we’ve seen the number of escalations to support desk drop by 80% in the past year, and our time to resolve any issues has improved by 40%.

We are working hard to scale our company very effectively to support our clients as we continue to grow and we remain committed to ensuring our clients are successful even as we grow rapidly. We recognize that improving our communication and other initiatives to support our customer experience is something we must continue to invest in.


Q: There have been a number of acquisitions and new partners. Is this a big factor in growth?

John: We’ve signed partnerships with almost all of the big publishers and we’re integrating technology from larger companies that share our vision for improving the teaching and learning experience, like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and IBM.  

 Also, by engaging our clients and individual application developers, there were 891 individual apps integrated using our Open APIs last year alone. Plus, we have hundreds of LTI integrations with other partners. There is no question partnerships will be a big part of our future growth story, but we feel like we are at an early stage today.  As for our acquisitions, I do believe they have really helped to accelerate our product roadmap and added some incredible talent to the D2L family.


Q: So what is next for D2L?

John: While we have come a long way, I feel like we are just getting started.  We’ll continue to invest in our employees, R&D, services, and infrastructure to support our clients and to be a market leader for innovation in teaching and learning.

What matters most to us is the success of our clients and measuring our progress on our mission metrics, such as improvements to learning outcomes, learner satisfaction, and user adoption. At Deakin University, personalized learning has helped improve retention rates in large classes.  At U-Pace at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, we’ve seen big improvements in student learning outcomes. At the University of Surrey in the UK, we’ve seen dramatic increases in student satisfaction.

We will always remain committed to the original driving force behind D2L—helping clients transform how the world learns and to help learners around the world achieve their full potential!

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