These are the investments and acquisitions related to part eight of my year-in-review series – “Robots Are Coming For Your Jobs.”

Although much of the talk about “skills training” is code (pardon the pun) for computer science instruction, there were investments this year in companies that don’t just teach programming.

Of particular note: the investment in EverFi in April. Not only was it one of the largest rounds of funding this year – $190 million – but it also underscores some of the narratives (from education reformers and education investors and politicians alike) that there are major gaps in the curriculum when it comes to “soft skills.” EverFi provides a platform for schools and businesses to teach short courses on topics like alcohol and drug abuse and sexual harassment. With all the stories about sexual assault and harassment in the news this year, it will be worth keeping an eye on EverFi and how it positions itself as a “solution.” (Research suggests that much sexual harassment training doesn’t work.)

Investments in Corporate Training Companies in 2017

  • CreativeLive raised $25 million in May from GSV Acceleration, Creative Arts Agency, Greylock Partners, Jared Leto, REV, Richard Branson, and Social Capital for its corporate training platform
  • Guild Education raised $21 million from in September Bessemer Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Harrison Metal, Social Capital, and Cowboy Ventures. It’s raised $31.5 million total
  • Lessonly raised $8 million in November from Rethink Education, Allos Ventures, High Alpha, and OpenView. It’s raised $23 million total for its professional development platform
  • Learnerbly raised $2.09 million in July from Frontline Ventures, Claire Davenport, Future Planet Capital, Jason Stockwood, London Co-Investment Fund, Playfair Capital, Renaud Visage, R Ventures, and Stephan Thomas for its professional development platform
  • Authess raised $2.2 million in March from EduLab Inc for its corporate assessment platform. It’s raised $3.72 million total
  • Sunlight raised $653,000 in November from Seedcamp, Speedinvest, and Annection for its corporate training program
  • Qualified raised $75,000 in October from Village Capital for its assessment platform

Investments in Language Learning Companies in 2017

  • Liulishuo raised $100 million in July from China Media Capital, Wu Capital, Cherubic Ventures, GGV Capital, Hearst Ventures, IDG Capital Partners, and Trustbridge Partners
  • ALO7 raised $37.5 million in December from Legend Capital, GuoHe Capital, UG Investment, Qualcomm, New Oriental, and Vickers Venture Partners. It’s raised $45.7 million total
  • Duolingo raised $25 million in July from Drive Capital. It’s raised $108 million total
  • Voxy raised $12 million in March from SJF Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, GSV Acceleration, Inherent Group, Rethink Education, and Weld North. It’s raised $30.8 million total
  • LingoLive raised $5.2 million in January from Owl Ventures, Alpine Meridian Ventures, Fresco Capital, and Entrepreneurs Expansion Fund. It’s raised $6.34 million total
  • Fluent City raised $3 million in October from New Ground Ventures, WorldQuant Ventures, ZG Ventures, John Katzman, Nick Hammerschlag, Matthew Hanson, and Lerner Investments. It’s raised $8 million total
  • PandraTree raised $1.5 million in November from Michael Dearing and Randy Ching
  • Blue Canoe Learning raised $1.4 million in October from Kernal Labs

There were several other language learning investments, which I’ll cover in a subsequent article in this series that looks at tutoring companies.

Investments in Teacher Professional Development Companies in 2017

  • BetterLesson raised $10 million in November from Owl Ventures, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, New Markets Venture Partners, and Reach Capital. It has raised $21.3 million total
  • KickUp raised $730,000 in July from Red House Education

“Skills Training” and Corporate Training Acquisitions in 2017

  • EverFi acquired Workplace Answers in April
  • VitalSource acquired Intrepid Learning in December

Audrey Watters


Who's Funding Education Technology?

A Hack Education Project

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