If you had scoured the room at PSL’s recent Diversity Dinner in search of Practice cofounder Emily Foote, you may have found her off to the side, negotiating her startup’s acquisition while cradling her baby daughter, Hazel.
We now know what all the discussion was about: Salt Lake City–based Instructure has agreed to acquire her company, keeping its staff of 15 in Philly with the aim to grow out its technology and set up an East Coast presence. Instructure is the company behind edtech products like Canvas, used by Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.
No financial terms of the deal were announced but, according to Foote, the investors behind the venture-backed startup formerly known as ApprenNet were excited about the acquisition. Locally, past investors include Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Penn’s Education Design Studio, Inc. The company’s 2015 raise of $1.8 million was led by Martellus Holdings, a firm founded by Nick Hammerschlag, who also has investment ties to Instructure.
Practice, which in 2015 added a six-person San Francisco office after merging with a company called Handsfree Learning, raised close to a million dollars in bridge financing in September. Director of Marketing David Williams said raising the capital was unrelated to the acquisition, and Foote notes that the Utah company was actually approached to join as an investor in that round. The conversation later evolved in to an acquisition talk.
“What’s really exciting about this is that Instructure wants Practice to grow in Philly,” said Foote. “Instructure has been impressed with the talent we were able to gather here.”
The Practice brand will stay alive as part of Instructure’s product offering. It speaks to a mission alignment, said the cofounder.
“Like us, they’re motivated by doing software to help people reach their full potential,” Foote said Wednesday from Instructure’s Salt Lake City office. “This is the result I hoped for and more. It’s an amazing place from a perspective of how they view learning and it’s also a great place for our team to grow professionally.”
For about a month in 2015, the company was led by New York-based Rachel Jacobs as CEO. The former edtech executive, who commuted back and forth, died tragically in the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment.
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