Global Ed-Tech Funding, Propelled by Big Deals, Reaches New Record

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Global funding for educational technology has risen to a record $2.98 billion, fueled by rapid growth in China, which accounted for 37 percent of recent deals, a new analysis shows.

Overall, funding for global deals in the digital space jumped by 58 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to research from CB Insights, a New York-based market research  company.

A total of 442 deals were made last year internationally, up from 391 the year before, and more than double the number made just four years ago:

Global ed-tech funding
Global ed-tech funding has soared from 2011-2015


What’s driving the growth? CB Insights says that much of the upswing was brought about by follow-on investment in education companies that focus on building workforce skills, for individuals or companies.

Much of the growth was propelled by “mega-deals,” worth $100 million or more, the analysis found: Seven different ed-tech companies reached at least that amount in their fundraising.

Among those bringing in the most financing: Hotchalk, which offers online university degrees, at $230 million; TutorGroup, a Chinese online language and tutoring company, at $200 million; and Udacity, the online degree and credentialing program co-founded by Sebastian Thrun, at $105 million.

Another China-based company, 17zuoye, raised $100 million. The U.S.-based adaptive learning company Knewton recently announced it was forming a partnership with 17zuoye, which describes itself as the largest online education platform in that country. The company’s name loosely translates into “homework together.”

Chinese companies saw a surge of investment, taking in more than $1 billion in 2015, CB Insights found. The money flowing to Chinese companies accounted for 37 percent of the total in 2015, a big jump from 17 percent in 2014.

From 2013 to 2015, ed-tech funding to China-based companies has soared from $253 million to $1.078 billion a year, CB Insights estimates.

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