Where’s the Moodle Money?

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If you’ve been staying up on edtech and startups you’ll notice that a ton of learning management systems and social learning platforms have been getting a lot of attention, and a lot of money.

And those are just a few.  Other recent entries to the LMS market with or without support are worth keeping an eye on: Edmodo, Haiku, OpenClass, Lectrio…the list goes on.

Moodle made waves when Blackboard stepped in to purchase two leading Moodle Partners, but the code base and community have grown–really thrived–in the absence of outside capital.  In a cutthroat learning management market Moodle has gained ground and market share on the back of its huge community and volunteer base.

Maybe the VCs should take note.  Thoughts?

6 Responses

  1. My thoughts? Moodle needs a lot of money. But that money won’t come from venture capital. The development of Moodle is strong and held together due to 20+ person staff in Perth and spread across the world. A venture capitalist could duplicate that HQ dynamic (for year or two with ten million dollars). But it is the huge development efforts in enhancements, add-ons, and experimentation that hundreds of outside developers and teachers are doing that the VC world would be hard to sustain. There is a lot of love out there for Moodle, or at least for the community effort of mass-collaboration on making a good LMS. I like both the Moodle Partner 10% fee system, and an emerging Moodle Association contribution system in order to support HQ. The Partner network needs to expand from 50 to 500 partners in order to allow HQ to grow. If we don’t see a 50 person HQ staff in the next few years, Moodle indeed will be antiquated.

  2. “the code base and community have grown–really thrived–in the absence of outside capital”

    Um, the Partner Network *is* the outside capital, even if it does operate in a symbiotic way with the community input. Without funding from the Partner network (or some other source) the core HQ development team doesn’t get paid, which I suspect would be quite a short lived experiment. Conversely, without the community, Moodle might as well be Just Another LMS Product – the vast group of volunteer idea generators, documenters, coders, educators, bug-reporters, agitators and oddballs is (to me) the thing that makes Moodle stand out so much from the rest.

    Granted, Moodle hasn’t had the huge up-front VC investment that some others have, but to suggest that there has been no ‘outside capital’ into the Moodle development effort is just plain wrong from where I’m looking.

    My 2c only 🙂

  3. ah semantics. I understand where you’re coming from. Moodle’s partner networks are part of the Moodle community at large. It’s an approval process (that’s pretty stringent) so there is an imposed limit to the commercial network of Moodle (officially).

    How much money the partners have contributed? No idea. I hope it’s dump truck loads. But it’s probably no where near a $5 million cash injection that some competitors/upstarts are getting. Could Moodle benefit from that type of cash? I have no doubt.

  4. Are you really naive enough to believe that VC comes with no strings attached? I have much more faith in an independent FOSS Moodle, rather than one scurrying after profits with little regard for anything or anyone else.

  5. the naivete cuts both ways. There are mission driven VCs. While profit is a goal for many in business I still have faith that businesses are looking to make their customers happy as well (happy customers are customers who stick around) and many looking also to make an impact and a difference (in education, healthcare or in any other market). That’s certainly my goal as a businessman.

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