Previous investments by Spectrum Equity include Lynda.com, SurveyMonkey and Bitly
The institute said the financing would “fuel investment” in professional learning and certification programmes, accelerating the company’s international expansion.
Spectrum Equity, based in Boston and San Francisco, is a prominent growth equity firm whose previous investments include lynda.com, SurveyMonkey and Bitly.
The Digital Marketing Institute was founded in 2008 by Ian Dodson and Anthony Quigley. The majority shareholder up to now was Enterprise Ireland with a 44.87 per cent stake, but its involvement has ended.
Spectrum Equity will be the new majority shareholder, while Mr Quigley and Mr Dodson, who own 26.45 per cent each, will continue as minority shareholders.
Ken Fitzpatrick, chief executive of the Digital Marketing Institute, said a portion of the investment would go to shareholders, while the rest would go into the business. He would not, however, provide a breakdown.
“The potential scale that we can realise by putting some investment into the business is very significant compared with if we were doing it on our own steam,” he said. “In order to drive that growth, we’re going to invest in four key areas. One is additional people; the second is continued investment in our product; then our technology; and finally our brand.”
He said Spectrum Equity had “a good track record” both in tech and education, as well as being an investor in digital marketing technology. The development will also lead to job creation.
“Hopefully we’ll be creating lots of extra jobs in Dublin,” he said. “We’ve 65 people at the moment and we would hope to grow that to in excess of 100.”
The Digital Marketing Institute said it had experienced “rapid growth”, with more than 18,000 professionals in 115 countries having completed its learning programmes to date.
The institute said more than 80 per cent of its alumni work in digital roles, with 20 per cent at director level or above, across thousands of businesses globally.
In conjunction with the investment, Adam Margolin and Parag Khandelwal of Spectrum Equity will be joining the Digital Marketing Institute’s board of directors.
Ted Weissberg, former chief executive of ACAMS, which was acquired for $330 million last year, will join the board as executive chairman. He will work closely with Mr Fitzpatrick on the company’s global expansion.
Adam Margolin of Spectrum Equity said there was “an urgent need” for digital marketing and digital sales education for professionals.
“The Digital Marketing Institute is uniquely positioned to address this growing global skills gap through its innovative, industry-validated certification programmes,” he said.
“We are excited to partner with the Digital Marketing Institute team as we look to scale the business globally and build the leading training and certification provider for sales and marketing professionals across all industries.”
Enterprise Ireland, which was formerly a shareholder in Digital Marketing Institute and helped it secure new business through its overseas office network, welcomed the investment by Spectrum Equity.