Calgary software company Absorb gets $500M US investment from private equity firm

A Calgary company that makes cloud-based learning and performance management software has secured a $500-million US investment from a private equity firm.

Edtech firm has more than 1,400 clients in 34 countries

CEO Mike Owens, pictured next to Absorb's head office in downtown Calgary. (Submitted by Absorb)

A Calgary company that makes cloud-based learning and performance management software has secured a half-billion investment from a private equity firm.

Absorb Software CEO Mike Owens told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday that New York-based Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe has invested $500 million US in the company, which is headquartered in Calgary's Telus Sky building.

Owens also confirmed to CBC News that the equity firm will have a controlling interest in Absorb.

"I'm really excited about [Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe], one as a partner, because they're going to let us develop our product and expand our team here in Calgary much more quickly," Owens said. "But also because every time you get a global investor of this scale and scope, it brings other investors to Calgary."

At least 100 new jobs will be created, CEO says

Founded in 2002, Absorb has offices in London, Dublin, Shanghai, Sydney, Boston and Tampa, and provides learning management system software to 23 million users across more than 1,400 clients in 34 countries.

Owens said the deal affirms that Calgary — and Canada — are great places to grow a tech company.

"We have amazing talent. We have a fantastic living standard across the country. And you can find great quality talent here that is globally competitive. So emerging on the global marketplace as a place to develop and grow fast software companies, there's no better place than Canada," he said.

This year, the company launched Absorb Intelligence — a set of artificial intelligence tools aimed at enriching online learning. The company said the deal will help create at least 100 new jobs in Calgary and expand operations globally.

Owens said while the recognition is great, he's even more excited about how this news can inspire others. 

"The fact that we get to do more of this tomorrow and faster and bring success stories in a time when we all need more success stories, and truly help diversify the economy, that makes everyone feel great. They're participating in something that uplifts the city, the province, and helps with the national economy," he said. 

"Every time that there is this scale of investment and recognition … we bring more investment opportunities for other companies."


  • A previous version of this story said Absorb Software had been acquired by Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe. In fact, the equity firm made a $500-million US investment in Absorb and has acquired a controlling interest in the company.
    Apr 21, 2021 10:55 AM MT

With files from Meegan Read


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