As 2016 comes to a close, we’re highlighting some of the noteworthy deals in the ed-tech sector this year. Several major players expanded their offerings with multiple acquisitions. In the venture capital world, some startups—both here, in the U.S., and abroad—raised significant amounts of cash.
This year, the industry saw some M&A deals that changed the landscape in particular niches of the ed-tech world. There were also impressive funding rounds that demonstrated exactly where investors expect to see future growth when it comes to new products and services for schools.
- PowerSchool: Throughout 2016, the K-12 education technology solutions company expanded its offerings by snapping up six companies: Interactive Achievement, TIENET, Haiku Learning, SRB Education Solutions, Chalkable and most recently, SunGard’s K-12 business. It was only in mid-2015 that PowerSchool was sold by Pearson to Vista Equity Partners for $350 million.
- Frontline Education: The K-12 software provider snapped up Excent, Centris Group, Teachscape and EDTRAININGCENTER. The company closed 2016 with the acquisition of eSPED.com.
- Knewton: The adaptive learning company raised $52 million earlier this year and received an undisclosed amount from Beijing-based TAL Educaton Group. Knewton also formed technology partnerships with Pearson and WebAssign. Earlier this month, company founder and CEO Jose Ferreira said he would step down from his position.
- Age of Learning: The producer of ABCMouse.com, an online early learning tool for children ages 2-7, raised $150 million at a $1 billion valuation from Iconiq Capital.
- K12 Inc.: The online education provider acquired ed-tech company LTS Education Systems for $20 million. CEO Stuart Udell said in an earnings call that the company had been looking to make multiple strategic acquisitions and partnerships that expand its distribution, enhance its product set and improve K12’s technology platform.
- Chegg: The learning platform provider has acquired Imagine Easy Solutions, the provider of EasyBib.com and other writing tools, for approximately $42 million in an all-cash transaction.
- BYJU’S: India’s ed-tech sector also saw some significant activity this year, raising a total of $140 million. The Bengaluru, India-based educational app provider raised $75 million in March. It was reportedly the largest ed-tech investment ever in India. Several months later, the company raised $50 million from investors including the Chan Zukerberg Initiative. Just last week, the company announced it had received an additional $15 million from the International Finance Corporation, the investment arm of the World Bank.
- Sesame Workshop: The nonprofit behind Sesame Street launched a venture capital arm and partnered with Collaborative Fund to focus on early-stage startups in the areas of education technology, health and nutrition and social, cultural and family development. Soon after the announcement, Sesame Workshop partnered with Reach Capital to support ed-tech startups.
- A handful of ed-tech companies raised a significant amount of funding this year, including: