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Instructure was founded in 2008 by two graduate students who were studying software usability on unusable learning software. With guidance and seed funding from Josh Coates — who later became and still is the company’s CEO — they set out to design and build a learning platform that would make teaching and learning easier.

Before they wrote any code, our founders launched their legendary “product validation tour.” In a Geo Metro with no air conditioning, they drove throughout the West, visiting 17 universities and gathering critical feedback from students, instructors and administrators that would lay the groundwork for the Canvas learning management system, or LMS.

In 2010, with a skeleton crew of just 20 employees, Instructure won a major contract with the Utah Education Network (UEN) to provide Canvas as the statewide LMS at all Utah public schools and state-funded colleges and universities. Selected as the most innovative of eight systems in a highly-competitive evaluation process, Canvas became the new online learning platform for more than 100,000 Utah students.

Following our success with UEN, Instructure formally launched Canvas in February 2011. As open-source software and the only true, native cloud LMS, it set a new, open standard for education technology. In 2015, we launched Bridge, an employee development suite for businesses. That was also the year we went public on the NYSE.

Flash forward to 2018, and Instructure is now a thriving public company with a headcount of more than 1,200, offices all over the world and a reputation for making teaching, learning and employee development easier. (Not bad for a company that started with a couple of college students on a road trip).

Josh Coates
Chief Executive Officer
Dan Goldsmith
President
Steve Kaminsky
Chief Financial Officer
David Burggraaf
SVP, Engineering
Matt Kaminer
SVP, General Counsel & Secretary
Jeff Weber
SVP, People & Places
Zach Wily
Chief Architect
Mitch Benson
SVP, Product
Seth Johnson
SVP, Customer Experience
Emily Foote
GM, Practice
Troy Martin
GM, APAC
Kenny Nicholl
GM, EMEA
Hilary Scharton
Vice President, K-12 Product Strategy
Jared Stein
Vice President, HE Product Strategy
Jeff Ross
VP, Sales
Heather Kane
MD, International Markets
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Josh Coates
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Josh has built a career the way he builds a business—by reimagining the way things can be done. After his start in distributed systems research at the University of California, Berkeley, and Microsoft’s Bay Area Research Center, he founded Scale Eight, which developed a new approach to scalable storage software and attracted customers like Microsoft, Viacom, and Fujitsu. Upon closing operations and selling Scale Eight’s intellectual property to Intel in 2003, Josh went on to found Berkeley Data Systems (Mozy.com) in 2005, which reshaped the world of data storage with a ubiquitous remote backup solution. Two years later, EMC Corp acquired Mozy for $76 million.
Josh now brings this imagination to the LMS world with Instructure. After seeing the opportunity to disrupt the current landscape, and in doing so, facilitate a better educational experience, he became an early investor before joining the board and becoming CEO in 2010.
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Steve Kaminsky
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Steve came to Instructure in 2012 to manage all of the company’s administrative operations, including accounting, finance, legal, IT, and daily Nerf gun wars. Since he began working with startups in 1995, Steve has been instrumental in raising more than $200 million in funding and building infrastructure for multiple successful acquisitions.
Before shifting his expertise toward startups, Steve worked as a CPA for Ernst & Young, the McDonald’s Corporation, and TriZetto. He earned a B.S. in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.
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David Burggraaf
SVP ENGINEERING
Fascinated by computers since his father gave him his first Timex Sinclair in 1980, David started programming at just 13 years old. Prior to coming to Instructure in 2014, he was the Sr. VP of Product Engineering at FamilySearch. Before that, he spent 12 years at Microsoft, leading the product development team responsible for the Visual C++ suite of tools (the foundation for much of Microsoft's revenue—as well as that of the software industry in general).
Reflecting on what he loves about working for Instructure, David points to its incredible blend of purpose and technology. “Here’s an incredible group of technologists invested in one of the world's most meaningful endeavors, that of advancing education—you don’t find that anywhere else.”
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Matt Kaminer
SVP, GENERAL COUNSEL & SECRETARY
In May 2015, Matt Kaminer joined Instructure as SVP, General Counsel and Secretary. Before coming to Instructure, Matt served as General Counsel and Secretary of Collective Inc., a video and mobile advertising company. And before that (take a deep breath, this is a mouthful), he served as General Counsel and Secretary of Epocrates, Inc., General Counsel for MediMedia USA, Inc., and Assistant General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at WebMD Health Corp. That’s a lot of counseling, generally.
Matt holds a B.S. in computer science from Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from George Washington University.
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Jeff Weber
SVP PEOPLE & PLACES
In the spring of 2013, Jeff Weber became Instructure’s VP of People & Places, doggedly fixated on bringing even more awesome talent to Instructure. Previously, Jeff worked at Ancestry.com—the leading online network for connecting families and the largest provider of family history information with 2.7 million paying subscriptions—as SVP of People and Places. That meant around 1,300 people (employees) at 10 places (offices). Not bad for a business built around dead people.
Jeff brings years of in-house HR and organizational development experience to Instructure, having worked for companies like Shell Oil Company, Amoco Oil, and Novell. Jeff holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in organizational behavior from Brigham Young University.
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Zach Wily
CHIEF ARCHITECT
As Chief Architect, Zach spearheads how to best build Instructure’s powerful, user-centered learning platforms. When Zach joined Instructure in 2010, he was employee number nine. Not only did he bring more than a decade’s experience as a software developer, manager, and consultant, he also brought Instructure’s unofficial black and white mascot (though it’s less unofficial by the minute)—the panda.
Zach has worked as a software developer for a number of companies, including Mozy. He studied computer science at Brigham Young University.
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Dan Goldsmith
President
With more than 20 years of experience in software and services, Dan's career is marked by directing high-performing global teams and achieving outstanding penetration and growth in challenging markets. Which is part of why we’re happy to have him as President of Instructure, overseeing sales, marketing, product, customer experience, engineering and business development. (The other part is that he’s a good dude.)
In his prior role, Dan spent eight years as a senior executive at Veeva Systems, a cloud-based software company, where he started and ran Veeva's international business, led the company's strategy in new markets and products, and was responsible for Veeva's global engagement and growth in strategic accounts. He helped lead Veeva through a successful IPO and a growth path to a $10 billion market cap.
Prior to Veeva, he worked in various executive positions at top companies, including Accenture, PwC and IBM. Dan holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester.
Dan is the George Washington of Instructure: our first president (but with better teeth).
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Mitch Benson
SVP, Product
Mitch is the Senior Vice President responsible for Instructure’s products. Before that, he was primarily responsible for the ongoing development of Canvas, ensuring its position as the most modern, scalable, secure, accessible and easy to use learning platform available.
Prior to Instructure, Mitch served in executive roles at Microsoft, Pearson, and in the not-for-profit and public sectors in Washington State. He graduated from the University of Washington, was a fellow at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and earned an MS in Information Systems from Capella University.
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Seth Johnson
SVP, Customer Experience
Since 2013, Seth has done his best to make (and keep) users of Instructure’s software happy. As Senior VP of Customer Experience, he’s responsible for helping customers succeed with our software. And the teams he leads are responsible for customer success, support, and services functions—including account management, implementation, training, professional services, technical support, community, documentation, product engagement, and customer success operations.
Before Instructure, Seth sharpened his customer care chops at eHarmony.com, was a partner at thereNow, and was Director of Development at Spectrum Research. He earned a Master of Science in Instructional Technology from Utah State University.
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Emily Foote
GM, Practice
Emily has always been driven by the ideal of providing equal education opportunities for all learners. That's why she co-founded Practice, a patented learning methodology that leverages the power of practice and feedback to increase learners' competencies and confidence. The power Practice has to help people reach their full potential is why Practice proved a great fit for Instructure. A former Teach for America and KIPP teacher, special education lawyer and luddite, Emily is passionate about technology’s potential to help educators in both the corporate and education markets scale great teaching and learning.
Emily received her B.A. and M.S. Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Drexel Law graduating cum laude from law and undergrad.
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Troy Martin
GM, APAC
Troy likes to build things—and disrupt things. So it made sense in 2014, after a career of business-building, when he leapt at the opportunity to join Instructure and disrupt the LMS status quo (plus facilitate the best educational experience possible) with Canvas. He loves Canvas because it’s the perfect blend of purpose and technology. And, of course, he wants to make teaching and learning easier.
Before Instructure, in the business-building stage of his career, Troy founded multiple start-ups within the digital media, publishing, and eCommerce spaces—including Reddo Media, one of Australia’s most highly regarded and multiple-award winning developers of content-rich apps for tablet and mobile devices.
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Kenny Nicholl
GM, EMEA
Kenny has spent his working life helping educational institutions and corporate organisations adopt new technologies and develop beneficial partnerships. As Instructure’s GM of EMEA Kenny Nicholl continues in that sweet spot, leading our EMEA team and helping our clients change their institutions and businesses for the better via Instructure’s software.
Before joining Instructure in 2014, Kenny was Commercial Director for Hobsons EMEA, overseeing a successful refresh and relaunch of the Hobsons brand. Prior to that, Kenny was Head of Sales at THUS, a cable & wireless business.
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Hilary Scharton
Vice President, K-12 Product Strategy
Hilary Scharton loves education and has worked in it, in some form or another, for her entire career. As VP of K-12 Product Strategy for Canvas, she sets the strategic vision for how Canvas makes its products even more awesome for students and teachers across the globe, while focusing on leveraging technology to support improved instruction and equitable access for all students.
Prior to joining Instructure in 2012, Hilary served as a psychologist for Utah school districts, spending her time focused on RtI and PBIS for schools and classrooms as well as Special Ed assessment. Before that, she worked in higher ed teaching classes in psychology, education, and English at Utah State and Illinois State Universities.
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Jared Stein
Vice President, HE Product Strategy
As Instructure’s VP of Research & Education, Jared Stein collaborates with educators and technologists to identify current and future challenges in education and corporate learning—and to envision ways Instructure can provide solutions. Jared began working with educators in the early days of the Web, designing blended and online learning strategies that emphasize real-world learning, openness, learner engagement, and usable design.
His book, “Essentials for Blended Learning, A Standards-Based Guide,” was published in 2014. Jared earned a B.A. in English and a master’s degree in second language teaching from Utah State University.
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Jeff Ross
Vice President, Corporate Sales
When Jeff isn’t fly fishing, camping, or hunting in the great outdoors, he brings his knowledge of hooks and lures indoors to build great sales teams focused on teamwork, collaboration, and performance. Joining Instructure in November 2016 as VP of Sales, Jeff is always on the hunt for innovative ways to do what’s best for Canvas and Bridge customers.
Before coming indoors at Instructure, Jeff was Chief Sales Officer at Pluralsight, where he established offices globally and led sales and customer success teams. Before that, he was Director of Sales at MarketStar, where he built large and small teams to accelerate sales for Fortune 100 companies.
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Heather Kane
MD, International Markets
Now MD of International Markets, Heather joined Instructure in 2010 as Instructure’s eighth employee. She quickly became the engine of the sales team, signing the first major account and sparking rapid adoption of Canvas throughout her sales territory. Before coming to Instructure, she worked for several successful startups, including one she founded herself.
Heather is driven by her unwavering belief that Instructure builds the best learning platforms—and by massive, massive quantities of Diet Coke. Really. Our facilities team can barely keep up. She studied business at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.
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