Former Animator Sells E-learning Website for $1.5 Billion

Lynda.com founders Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman sold their company to LinkedIn this week. (Photo: Terry Straehley/Shutterstock.com)

Lynda.com founders Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman sold their company to LinkedIn this week. (Photo: Terry Straehley/Shutterstock.com)

Lynda Weinman, who co-founded the e-learning site lynda.com with her husband, Bruce Heavin, sold the company to LinkedIn earlier this week for $1.5 billion. The buyout is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2015.

The site’s stats are impressive: launched in 1995, lynda.com has grown to include over 6,000 courses and 265,000 videos. The website generated more than $150 million in revenue in 2014 and employs nearly 500 full-time employees. The company has had multiple investment rounds over the past few years, totalling nearly $300 million.

The most remarkable (and underreported) part of the story though is that Weinman, who currently serves as lynda.com’s executive chairman, started her career as an animation artist. She was introduced to animation through a boyfriend who had worked on Star Wars and Tron and owned his own animation studio.

By the late-Eighties, Weinman was working as a special-effects animator on live-action movies, racking up credits on RoboCop 2, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Her work on the latter film is considered among the earliest uses of 3D software to create previz for a feature film.

This Wall Street Journal profile describes her journey to becoming a billion-dollar success. If anything, it’s an inspiring story that disproves the conventional wisdom that animators (and more generally, artists) don’t make good businesspeople.


  • starss

    Some major companies offer Lynda.com courses for free as part of a benefits package for all full-time employees. I wonder if this will affect those deals…

  • cameron m

    My tech school has ditched textbooks almost entirely in favor of using Lynda tutorial series for intros to different software.
    Not sure if it’s better or not, but they’re not bad tutorials for getting you started, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Wow! I worked with her years ago on Amazing Stories back when Dream Quest was in Culver City. Maybe I can hit her up for a loan?

    • KW

      Funny, I think im related to her somehow. I have some debts that could use clearing up. Gotta stick with family, dont ya know.

  • http://www.studiomiguel.com Studiomiguel

    It was nice while it lasted. Can’t wait for it to be plugged up with Linkedin Ads.

  • otterhead

    I got to take some Lynda.com courses early on taught by Lynda herself. She’s a lovely person, very genuine, and a terrific educator who’s enthusiasm is infectious. Her success is well earned.

  • Jen H

    So cool to learn about this. : )