Here is the latest data on “the business of education” for August 2018:

  • Amount of venture capital invested during the month: $122,500,000
  • Number of investments: 14
  • Average investment size: $10.2 million / Median investment size: $4.2 million
  • Number of acquisitions: 6
  • Number of mergers: 0
  • Number of IPOs: 0
  • Number added to the “ed-tech dead pool”: 1

Investment Trends

August was a very slow month for investment – not a big surprise as it’s the summer holidays for the Northern hemisphere. There was also no giant deal this month in a Chinese startup, something that’s really driven the level of investment up in previous months.

Indeed the amount of money raised in August was the least it’s been all year. (The fewest number of deals, I should note, was back in June.)

One of the notable investment trends: preschool management software. Three companies raised funding to help people run preschools in their homes: Wonderschool, WeeCare, and Procare Software. Investors include some of the “big money” names in Silicon Valley: Omidyar Network, Andreessen Horowitz, Social Capital, and Warburg Pincus.

There were also several companies that claim their worksheets are “adaptive” raising money in August. One of them, Knewton, infamous for boasting about its “mind reading robo tutor in the sky,” secured a round of funding, despite a long track record of bullshittery and vaporware. The company has raised some $182.3 million total, confirming that I do not understand any of the logic behind what venture capitalists see in a firm or its products.

I would also be remiss if I did not note the passing of advertising-in-schools pioneer ChannelOne into the ed-tech dead pool. Good riddance.

The Biggest Investments of 2018 (So Far)

The companies that have raised the most money in 2018 (not including the venture capital firms that have raised new funds):

  • VIPKID (tutoring): $500 million
  • Zuoyebang (tutoring): $350 million
  • 17zuoye (tutoring): $200 million
  • DreamBox Learning (adaptive learning): $130 million
  • Zhangmen (tutoring): $120 million
  • Connexeo (school administration software): $110 million
  • DadaABC (English language learning): $100 million
  • Knowbox (tutoring): $100 million

As far as I can tell, these are now the most well-funded ed-tech startups (that is, those education companies which have not gone public):

  • SoFi (student loans): $2.156 billion
  • VIPKID (tutoring): $825 million
  • CommonBond (student loands): $803.6 million
  • (English language learning): $608.9 million
  • Zuoyebang (tutoring): $585 million
  • 17zuoye (tutoring): $585 million
  • EverFi (“critical skills” training): $251 million
  • Yuanfudao (tutoring) –- $244.2 million
  • BYJUs (tutoring): $244 million
  • Coursera (online education): $210.1 million
  • Knewton (adaptive learning): $182.3 million
  • Age of Learning (educational apps): $181.5 million
  • DreamBox Learning (adaptive learning): $175.6 million
  • Udemy (skills training): $173 million
  • AltSchool (private school; learning management system): $172.9 million
  • D2L (learning management system): $165 million
  • Udacity (skills training): $160 million

I find this list, which I’d argue reflects what venture capitalists see as the “future of education,” incredibly depressing.


One of the problems of having “ed-tech funding update” on my To Do list for the last day of each month, is that I sometimes run the numbers before all the news is in. Such was the case for July. After I hit “publish” on July’s article, the press release was issued announcing that DreamBox Learning had raised $130 million. So I’ve adjusted the numbers for July accordingly across my spreadsheets (and any data you download will reflect this change too). But I thought it might be worthwhile to post a quick update here on each month’s funding totals, as some of these have changed since I initially wrote the article for the month:

  • January: $336.8 million
  • February: $180.8 million
  • March: $404 million
  • April: $331.3 million
  • May: $246.2 million
  • June: $584.5 million
  • July: $757.5 million

With August’s dollars, that brings the total funding for the year so far to $2.93 billion – ahead of the total for all of 2016.

Download the Data

As part of this project, you can review more detailed information from the last few years 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 and the future of school.

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 (or think there is a particular funding pattern I should be tracking), 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

Back to Archives