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It’s time once again to assess “the business of ed-tech” – or at least, calculate the “deal flow” in ed-tech startup-land over the last 30 days or so.

tl;dr: things aren’t looking so good if your ed-tech startup’s revenue model primarily involves raising venture capital.

I noted in both January and in February that investment levels appear to be down in 2016 when compared to the same time last year. That trend continued in March (and more generally, investment seems to be slowing down across the technology sector – not just in ed-tech – with plenty of speculation about burst bubbles).

The amount of investment and the number of deals were down again in March from January and February, although the total dollar figure was up from this time last year. By my calculations, there were 13 funding rounds in March, totaling roughly $131 million. (By comparison, in March 2015, there were 16 rounds, totaling roughly $118 million.)

More than half that $131 million figure came from the $75 million investment in the Indian test prep company Byju.

These sorts of large investments do tend to tend to skew comparisons between months. In February, for example, there was one $60 million investment (in Student.com). And in January and February 2015, there were 3 $100+ million investments (in SoFi, Lynda.com, and 17zuoye). In March 2015, there was one $50 million investment (in Genshuixue). You could exclude these giant rounds in order to compare the average funding levels from this year and last, but I’m not sure that’d be terribly accurate either. (But hey, this is one reason why I make the raw data available so folks can crunch the numbers themselves. Well, also because lots of folks charge for this data and that doesn't seem to do much for transparency or equity, does it.)

Investment Totals:

  ·  January  ·     ·  February  ·     ·  March  ·  
2015   $358,185,000     $429,896,000     $117,750,000  
2016 $166,140,000 $149,700,000 $131,050,000

Number of Deals:

  ·  January  ·     ·  February  ·     ·  March  ·  
2015 23 25 16
2016 17 14 13

Number of Acquisitions:

  ·  January  ·     ·  February  ·     ·  March  ·  
2015 6 8 5
2016 9 10 10


Tutoring and test prep are still two of the areas of ed-tech that receive the most investment activity (so congrats, ed-tech for exacerbating educational inequality).

Here are the companies that have raised the most money so far this year:

  • Byju (Test prep): $75 million
  • Student.com (Student housing marketplace): $60 million
  • Grovo (Corporate training): $40 million
  • Jerry Education (Tutoring): $40 million
  • Degreed (Credentialing): $21 million
  • Revature (Learn-to-code): $20 million
  • College Ave (Student loans): $20 million
  • After School (Anonymous messaging): $16.4 million
  • Digischool (Online education platform): $15.7 million
  • MasterClass (Online education platform): $15 million

You can find all this data (and more) – including JSON files with the year-to-date’s worth of investment, acquisition, and merger information – in the GitHub repo that powers this website.

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Audrey Watters


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