Here is the latest data on “the business of education” for November 2017:

  • Amount of venture capital invested during the month: $704 million
  • Number of investments: 20
  • Average investment size: $39.1 million / Median investment size: $7 million
  • Number of acquisitions: 4
  • Number of mergers: 1
  • Number of IPOs: 1
  • Number added to the “ed-tech dead pool”: 1

Investment Trends

I debated whether or not two very large investments this month should be included in my calculations: $500 million invested in WorldStrides, an accredited student travel company, and $400 million invested in UBTech, a robotics company. The latter says its robots have entertainment and educational functions, but I just couldn’t see enough of the latter in their marketing material to justify their inclusion. The former I have included, even though people will complain “that’s not ed-tech.” When venture capitalists and private equity are interested in a concept, we’re better off paying attention than pretending like a strict definition of “learning technologies” matter.

That $500 million boosts the amount of money invested so far this year much much higher than the two previous years – the amount of time I’ve been keeping track of the details of funding. Even so, the number of investment deals has fallen – there are five fewer deals than this time last year and nineteen fewer than in 2015. The growth in funding continues to be driven this year by a small number of very large investments. (There were three investments this month of $40 million or more.)

Acquisitions continue to be down from previous years – off by ten from last year and twenty from 2015. There have been a number of IPOs this year – the other way that investors can get a return on their money – but these have been almost exclusively by Chinese education companies

The Biggest Investments of 2017 (So Far)

The companies that have raised the most money in 2017 (not including the venture capital firms that have raised new funds):

  • SoFi (private student loans) –- $500 million
  • WorldStrides (accredited student travel) – $500 million
  • VIPKID (tutoring) – $200 million
  • EverFi (“critical skills” training) –- $190 million
  • Zuoyebang (tutoring) – $150 million
  • Hero K12 (behavior management) –- $150 million
  • Yuanfandao (tutoring) –- $120 million
  • Grammarly (grammar and spelling assistance) –- $110 million
  • (tutoring) -– $100 million
  • Liulishuo (language learning) – $100 million
  • Gaosi Education (tutoring) – $83.5 million
  • BYJU’s (test prep) – $70 million
  • Coursera (online education) –- $64 million
  • Absorb (learning management system) – $59 million
  • Changingedu (tutoring) – $55 million
  • Yixue Education (online education) – $41 million
  • Wonder Workshop (robotics) – $41 million
  • AltSchool (private school; learning management system) – $40 million
  • Prodigy Finance (student loans) – $40 million

Download the Data

I’ll have much more to say about venture capital and venture philanthropy as part of my annual review of the year in ed-tech. In the meantime, you can review who’s received funding, who’s been acquired, who’s IPO’d, which startups have closed, and who’s investing in the stories that Edsurge tells you about the shape of the education technology industry.

I have created separate GitHub repositories for all areas of funding that I monitor:

These sites include human- and machine-readable versions of this funding data. For more ed-tech data sets, visit Hack Education Data on GitHub.

If you see an error or omission, please file a GitHub issue. You’re welcome to fork or download the repositories too, of course.

Audrey Watters


Who's Funding Education Technology?

A Hack Education Project

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