K-12 Dealmaking: Byju’s Continues U.S. Expansion By Acquiring Coding Platform; Blackboard Merges With Anthology

Staff Writer

India-based education giant Byju’s has acquired K-12 coding platform, Tynker, as part the company’s ongoing effort to reach the North American education market.

The merger is meant to help expand Byju’s U.S. footprint, providing access to the 60 million students across 100,000 schools currently served by Tynker, and reinforce the companies’ shared mission to “democratize access to coding for students,” according to the announcement.

Tynker describes itself as a “creative coding platform,” enabling students of all ages to develop the skills to code, design, and power animations, games, music, robots, drones and more.

“Our goal is to ignite a love for programming in children globally,” Byju’s Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran said in a statement. “We feel strongly that Tynker’s creative coding platform and approach to making programming fun and intuitive for kids will get us there even faster.”

This is Byju’s third acquisition of a U.S. education company in the last two and a half years. Others included Osmo, the playful learning system focused on healthy screen time, and the $500 million purchase of Epic, an online digital reading platform, in July.

According to Byju’s, launched in 2015, it’s goal is to invest $1 billion in the U.S. education technology market over the next three years. It currently serves 100 million students globally.

Blackboard to merge with higher education solutions company. Leading learning management software provider Blackboard is merging with Anthology, a cloud technology provider of admissions and enrollment management and other higher education-focused products.

The merger is designed to “accelerate transformation” at education institutions and enhance learners’ experiences, according to the announcement. The companies seek to transform the way education uses technology to engage, connect, and teach. By combining, company leaders say they will improve the services available to faculty and students.

“We believe that combining our companies will enable us to break down data silos across the institution and surface deeper insights about the learner so that we can deliver unmatched personalized experiences across the full learner lifecycle,” said Blackboard Chairman, CEO and President Bill Ballhaus in a statement.

The new entity will be majority owned by private equity firm Veritas Capital. Private equity firm Leeds Equity Partners will hold a minority stake. Blackboard’s existing majority owner, Providence Equity Partners LLC, will also hold a minority stake.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021.

Investment fund makes debut investment in Teaching Strategies. A-Street Ventures, which launched in June, is making a minority investment in early childhood curriculum, assessment, and professional development provider Teaching Strategies.

A-Street Ventures says it’s focused on “seeding and scaling” innovative student learning solutions for students, families and schools, according to the announcement. The young investment fund announced it plans to invest in a mix of early-, growth-, and late-stage ventures with a focus on improving student outcomes and closing equity gaps.

“The A-Street team knows education,” Teaching Strategies CEO John Olsen said in a statement. “They will bring not just capital and a strong mission alignment, but a deep understanding of the field to bear on the next chapter of our story”

The investment comes alongside global investment firm KKR‘s acquisition of Teaching Strategies from Summit Partners, which was announced in July. According to the company, Teaching Strategies currently serves more than 15 million children in 270,000 classrooms globally.

K-12 cyber safety provider acquires software company Smoothwall. Linewize, a cyber safety management system, acquired U.K.-based software company and online student safety provider Smoothwall.

The merger will position Linewize, and parent company FamilyZone, to deliver a more comprehensive portfolio of online safety and parental control products, according to the announcement. Smoothwall will bring advanced threat detection and a tool that allows schools to easily record child protection issues and safety incidents electronically.

Linewize currently serves 9 million students in 18,000 schools, according to the company.

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