K-12 Dealmaking: Ebix Buys Stake in Smartclass; NewSchools Unveils Latest Cohort

Contributing Writer

In this week’s dealmaking news, on-demand software and e-commerce services provider Ebix purchased a stake in Smartclass Educational Services. Also, NewSchools Venture Fund will invest $5 million in 23 teams of educators who are planning to launch new schools.

Ebix Buys Stake in Smartclass Education Services: Ebix, an international supplier of on-demand software and e-commerce services to the insurance, financial, e-governance and healthcare industries, has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in India-based Smartclass Educational Services, an e-learning company engaged in the business of education services, development of education products, and implementation of education solutions for K-12 Schools, according to a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Johns Creek, Ga.-based Ebix will pay up to $8 million in cash for its stake in Smartclass.

“We have been eyeing India’s fast-growing e-learning sector for many years now, fueled by education being one of the highest spending areas traditionally for an Indian median household,” said Ebix chairman, president and CEO Robin Raina. “Towards that extent, we have earmarked a $100 million amount for investment in India’s e-learning sector and the acquisition of Smartclass is a logical first step for Ebix to establish its presence in the country’s e-learning markets.”

Smartclass, a digital learning company, caters to the fast-growing K-12 education sector in India, according to the statement. The company offers rich media like 2-D, 3-D, and virtual reality animation to accredited schools.

NewSchools Unveils Latest Cohort: New Schools Venture Fund is investing $5 million in 23 teams of educators launching new schools, according to a blog post on the fund’s website by Derrick Johnson, associate partner on the fund’s Innovative Schools team.

Johnson, who leads the sourcing and diligence processes for investments in new, innovative public school models across the U.S., noted that the new schools will create seats for as many as 11,000 students, “78 percent of which are projected to be black or Latino and 82 percent expected to come from low-income communities.”

The investments span 13 states, 16 cities and the District of Columbia and broadens NewSchool’s reach by six new states and seven new cities, Johnson noted.

South African Tutoring Platform SkillUp Raises Funds: SkillUp, a Cape Town-based ed-tech start-up that aims to help students find tutors online, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Knife Capital, according to press reports.

Knife Capital’s investment criteria include an investment size up to $5 million per opportunity and global reach but a preference for ventures in South Africa and the United Kingdom, among other criteria, according to the firm’s website.

Examity Acquires BVirtual: Examity, a provider of online proctoring and identity verification solutions, has acquired Atlanta-based BVirtual, which provides online proctoring services for academic institutions, professional associations, and government institutions worldwide. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The integration will expand the company’s reach to serve a global customer base with more than 100 new partnerships across the United States and Europe, according to a statement.

Last year, Natick, Mass.-based Examity raised $21 million from higher education technology investor University Ventures.

Panorama Education Partners With AASA: Panorama Education and the School Superintendents Association (ASAA), have formed a partnership to help schools and districts across the country measure and support each student toward readiness for college, career, and life, according to a statement.

The partnership was created as part of AASA’s Redefining Ready! campaign, a national initiative launched in 2016 to introduce research-backed college and career readiness indicators that portray the complete picture of a student’s progress.

As a component of the new partnership, Panorama will participate in AASA’s Redefining Ready! cohort, a convening of district leaders who will work together to review the research, practices, and policies that are most promising to help students succeed both in and out of the classroom. The first cohort meeting of the year will be next week, April 23-24, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Panorama Education partners with K-12 schools and districts across the country to collect and analyze data about social-emotional learning, school climate, family engagement, and other factors.

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