Feb 20, 2015

Austin-based Civitas to Double Staff Size

By Rachel Phua
For Reporting Texas and the Austin Business Journal

The recent third-round funding for educational software maker Civitas Learning Inc. will help the company double its employees and expand into international markets.

New York-based venture capital firm Rethink Education led the $16 million funding earlier this month. Austin-based Civitas, which makes software to help students choose their college coursework, has raised a total of $28.8 million since its founding in 2011.

Founder and CEO Charles Thornburgh said Civitas plans to double its employees this year from 80 to 160. Hiring will be concentrated in engineering and research and development.

Thornburgh said the company — which is based downtown — will expand its software to include data on job possibilities for various majors and other career-building information.

“We started with improving student graduation rates, and now we want to help put their degrees to use,” he said.

Civitas is looking at international expansion into the European Union, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and South America.

“We are already in 15 or so states and partnering with Aliat University located in Mexico,” he said.

Thornburgh said the company aims to have 3 million student users by the end of this year.

Rick Segal, managing partner of Rethink Education, said his company has been interested in Civitas for some time.

“The money is necessary for the young company over the next few years. They are also planning to build a sales force in order to sell their product more widely,” Segal said.

Santiago Subotovsky, a partner at Emergence Capital, said his firm continued to invest in Civitas because the company has “overachieved.”

“Funding for schools has shifted from being enrollment-based to performance-based, so many schools are trying to achieve a higher graduation rate,” Subotovsky said. “We talked to Civitas’ customers, and many of them said that without the software, this goal would’ve been challenged.”