4/29/1998 , Washington, D.C. – Blackboard Inc. today announced the successful completion of private equity financing with Ching-Ho Fung, a leading local entrepreneur with experience growing hi-tech companies.
“Ching-Ho Fung is exactly the type of investor Blackboard has been looking for” said Blackboard’s Chairman and CEO Matthew Pittinsky. “Beyond committing the financial resources necessary to help fuel Blackboard’s expansion, Ching-Ho knows how to grow hi-tech companies smartly and will be a fantastic addition to our management team.”
Currently President of telecommunications firm IDX International, Inc., Mr. Fung is Blackboard’s lead investor and will join the Company’s Board of Directors. Before taking the helm of IDX, Mr. Fung was co-Founder of Performix Inc., a Virginia-based software company that was acquired by Pure Software in a transaction which exceeded $60 million.
“After completing the acquisition of Performix, I began searching the Washington-area for a fast growing start-up that I thought had the team and technology necessary to make it big in a fast growing marketplace” said Ching-Ho Fung. “Blackboard, with its emphasis on standards-based products that enable on-line learning, met every one of my criteria. It clearly stands out as one of the most promising young Internet companies in our area.”
Blackboard is a leading provider of technologies the help make the Internet more useful for teaching and learning. The Company creates powerful software tools for hosting “virtual” campuses, university intranets and on-line corporate training environments. Its products enable organizations to host classes and training over the Internet.
According to Blackboard’s President Michael L. Chasen, “Blackboard’s private equity financing will allow the Company to accelerate the expansion of our product line and meet what has been amazing market demand.”
At the center of Blackboard’s product line is CourseInfo, a course management system that leading institutions such as Cornell University, Yale University, Mortgage Bankers and Halton College (UK) are using to deliver instruction on-line. Recent CourseInfo clients also include the Ithaca Unified School District and University of Pittsburgh, according to Daniel Cane and Stephen Gilfus who will also be joining Blackboard’s Board of Directors and Management Team pending the successful completion of a Blackboard/CourseInfo merger.
Since June 1997, Blackboard has been a leading participant in a high-profile standards project for on-line learning technologies called Instructional Management Systems (IMS). Sponsored by Educom, a nonprofit consortium of over 600 higher education institutions, IMS investment members include Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, IBM, International Thomson Publishing, KPMG Peat Marwick, numerous universities and others. As the Project’s primary technical contractor, Blackboard has been a significant source of expertise in designing the IMS standards which show major promise for wide-scale adoption by the entire on-line education marketplace.
Terms of Blackboard’s private placement are not being disclosed. Are these the new fathers of online learning?