K-12 Dealmaking: BYJU’S Raises $50 Million; Frontline Acquires Excent

Contributing Writer

In this week’s dealmaking news, Indian educational app provider BYJU’S raised funds from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; in addition, Frontline Education acquired Excent.

BYJU’S Raises $50 Million: BYJU’S, which touts itself as India’s largest ed-tech company and provides test-preparation tools and video classes for kids, has raised $50 million in a round co-led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Sequoia Capital, along with Sofina, Lightspeed Ventures & Times Internet Ltd, according to a statement posted on The PE Hub Network. The statement noted that this is the first investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in Asia.

Earlier this year, the Bengalaru-based educational app provider raised $75 million Sequoia Capital and Belgian investment firm Sofina, according to various press reports at the time, which called the deal the largest ed-tech investment ever in India.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a limited liability corporation established by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. It is expected to serve as an an umbrella organization for the couple’s giving, with a focus on education, as well as public health and community-building. (See this explainer that details the various entities that Zuckerberg and Chan are using to make investments in education and other areas.)

EDUGILD Reveals Second Class of Startups: Pune, India-based ed-tech accelerator Edugild has selected seven startups for its second batch, according to press reports which noted that this class includes companies from the USA and Russia along with India.

The seven startups are Edorble, Ahhaa.co, Abroad Shiksha, Ekin Knowledge, ProctorEdu, ReadRush and TinyTaps, according to reports.

EDUGILD, which was founded by the Maharashtra Institute of Technology’s Academy of Engineering & Educational Research, offers selected ed-tech startups a 16-week intensive mentorship and product development program. 

Frontline Education Acquires Excent: Education software provider Frontline Education has acquired Excent Corporation, provider of district and state level data management solutions designed for special education and intervention. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition will substantially enhance Frontline Education’s ability to serve educators, parents and students across more than 8,500 educational organizations, according to a statement from Frontline.

Excent is the second acquisition in special education and intervention management for Frontline Education, who acquired Centris Group earlier this year.

In all, Frontline Education has acquired four companies since January 2016 “with the goal of steadily growing its integrated solutions platform to better serve the front line of education,” the organization said, adding that “the addition of Excent will broaden the Frontline Student Solutions portfolio and footprint in IEP, RTI, Section 504 and Medicaid solutions.”

Bridge Growth Acquires Finalsite: Private equity firm Bridge Growth Partners, LLC has made an equity investment to acquire Finalsite from Spectrum Equity, according to a statement from Bridge Growth. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Glastonbury, Conn.-based Finalsite offers an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)-based learning and communications platform for K-12 independent and public schools and higher education institutions in the U.S. and internationally.

“The education sector presents many opportunities to further leverage web-based platforms, social networking and customized, collaborative, mobile communication technologies to improve all facets and phases of the education experience for students, their families and the school communities that are dedicated to them,” said Alok Singh, co-founder and managing principal of Bridge Growth Partners.

Last week also saw the formation of new partnerships, including:

LightSail Education Partners With Antares Reading: LightSail Education has partnered with Antares Reading to provide access to 850 original titles of digital books, in English and Spanish, for K-6 students.

LightSail, an education technology “dedicated to turning students everywhere into readers,” engaged Antares to write and illustrate digital books on topics that teachers say students want to know more about, according to a press statement.

Availlain Partners With Westermann: Avallain, a Swiss company, has partnered with German educational media provider Westermann to develop a primary math learning environment that supports “truly differentiated learning,” allowing teachers to respond to the needs of individuals, Availlain said in a posting on its website.

Be sure to check back on Marketplace K-12 for updates on mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, and other dealmaking. Also see EdWeek Market Brief, a service that gives companies operating in the market insights on the needs and priorities of school officials.

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