Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, May 6, 2009

IU-launched software provider sold for $100 million

MAY 6, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- ANGEL Learning, an Indianapolis-based educational software provider created from technology developed almost a decade ago by Indiana University faculty members, is being acquired in the largest commercial transaction the university has experienced.

Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), an educational software provider headquartered in Washington, D.C., announced Wednesday (May 6) that it will purchase ANGEL Learning for $100 million. As a result of IU investments in ANGEL Learning, the university and its Research and Technology Corp. jointly stand to realize approximately $23 million in proceeds from the sale.

Angel Learning produces educational and course management software using technology developed at IUPUI by Ali Jafari, a professor of computer and information technology, and director of the Cyber Lab in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, and David Mills, a 1999 graduate of the School of Engineering and Technology. Mills, one of Jafari's students, earned a bachelor of science in computer and information technology.

Since its founding nine years ago at IU, the company has grown to about 200 programmers, analysts and sales/marketing personnel, and is now housed at Indianapolis' INTECH Park.

"This is our greatest success to date in terms of a university start-up company," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie, who also serves as chairman of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. "It is important to note that it was made possible in part by the strategic investments IU has made in information technology over the past decade. This unprecedented return on our investment will be used to fuel additional research activity that will allow us to maintain our national leadership in this field and augment our broader research efforts."

McRobbie also credited former IU President Myles Brand for his foresight in creating the IURTC, then known as the Advanced Research and Technology Institute, and Ron Henriksen, president of ARTI at the inception of ANGEL Learning.

Under university policies, all proceeds realized from IURTC operations must be used to support on-going research at the university and commercialization activities at the Emerging Technologies Center in Indianapolis and the soon-to-be-completed Bloomington incubator building.

IU Emerging Technology Center

IU Emerging Technology Center

Print-Quality Photo

"This successful transaction was made possible by virtue of the ingenuity of our faculty and the broad and deep relationships we enjoy with leaders of the information technology community here and around the country," said Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephan, who oversees all of IU's business-related initiatives.

Tony Armstrong, president and CEO of the IURTC, said this success validates the need for a robust commercialization organization to assist IU faculty and staff in bringing their best ideas to the market place.

"One of the goals of the IURTC is the commercialization of all the great work being done by faculty throughout the university," Armstrong said. "Getting this work into the marketplace quickly and effectively will better the lives of all Hoosiers and people around the world."

The deal to acquire ANGEL Learning was the result of an unsolicited offer from Blackboard, a national leader in educational software products. Stephan said Angel Learning board members and principals deemed the offer to be well above what it could have expected if the company had been offered for sale on the open market.