K-12 Dealmaking: Instructure Acquires Major Assessment Provider; IntellectoKids Raises Funds

Staff Writer

Several major acquisitions closed in the education space in the last several weeks, spanning from the U.S. to the U.K. to Brazil. Instructure is acquiring a large assessment company, which will significantly broaden its portfolio.

Another major deal will take technology workforce development company Pluralsight off of the public market and into the hands of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm.

A few highlights:

Instructure to acquire Certica Solutions. Education powerhouse Instructure, which runs the Canvas Learning Management System widely used in K-12, will acquire Wakefield, Mass.-based Certica Solutions, an industry leader in K-12 assessments, item banks, and learning analytics, Instructure announced.

The acquisition will bring together an LMS, assessment management system, assessment content, and data analytics into one streamlined K-12 learning experience, the Salt Lake City-based Instructure said.

“This topsy-turvy year has only underscored just how important it is to know if our students are learning, whether they are being taught in the classroom or online,” Instructure CEO Steve Daly said in a statement. “Welcoming Certica into the Instructure family will support educators by combining our assessment platform with smarter, standards-based assessments, assessment item banks, and powerful analytics empowering educators to make learning personal for each student.”

Instructure will add to its learning platform Certica’s Videri, a powerful K-12 analytics solution that integrates district data from multiple sources into one place, making data more actionable in an instant, Instructure said.

The acquisition is expected to close before the end of 2020.

Open LMS acquires eThink Education. Open LMS, which leverages open-source software to deliver learning experiences and is the largest commercial Moodle provider in the world, has acquired Baltimore-based eThink Education, according to an announcement.

Moodle is a free and open-source learning management system.

eThink Education provides implementation, integration, management, and cloud-hosting services for the open-source Moodle, Moodle Workplace, and Totara learning platforms in the higher education, K-12, and corporate sectors. The company serves over 2 million users in 22 countries.

“The pandemic has drastically increased the need for effective online teaching and learning programs for thousands of education institutions and corporations worldwide,” Phillip Miller, managing director for Open LMS, said in a statement. “With the integration of eThink, which is a strong business delivering high levels of growth and profitability alongside peerless customer service, we can further support those who need a fully-functional, open-source solution to manage courses and deliver engaging content experiences at any time and anywhere.”

All of eThink’s 39 employees will join Open LMS, enhancing the company’s focus on customer success and support.

Miller will lead the team, while eThink founders Brian Carlson and Cheryl Patsavos will join the Open LMS leadership team as head of sales and head of customer support, respectively.

Including the clients that join Open LMS as part of the acquisition, Open LMS now has over 1,460 clients and 8 million users in more than 100 countries.

U.K. app developer raises $3 million. IntellectoKids, which develops educational apps for children ages 3-7, has raised $3 million in Series A financing led by U.S.-based Allrise Capital, Ukrainian venture capital firm Genesis Investments, and other investors, TechCrunch reported.

IntellectoKids offers preschool children gamified educational content and structured lessons available on mobile devices.

The startup plans to launch a classroom feature with learning tracks in five core K-1 courses, including math, phonics, science, arts, and logic, according to the article.

The platform currently is geared toward consumers, but expects to offer primary schools and kindergartens the platform as an online supplement to support their offline educational process in 2021.

The company says it currently has over 2 million installs across North America and Central and Northern Europe, according to TechCrunch.

Vasta Platform Limited acquires Brazilian digital assessment platform. Vasta Platform Limited, a Brazilian education company that provides end-to-end digital educational solutions that cater to the needs of Brazilian K-12 private schools, has acquired Meritt, a large Brazilian assessment platform, Vasta announced.

“With the acquisition of an Edtech company, Vasta reaffirms its commitment to expand the digital solutions offered by its platform and aims to provide an improved learning management based on data and evidence, contributing to bolster students’ academic performance,” Vasta said in its announcement.

Meritt’s experience and methodology will help Vasta make a new stride in its investments in online and adaptive testing, gaining new ground in assessment customization, as well as allowing for results comparison among all students enrolled in the platform, Vasta said.

The methodology will make it possible to more quickly identify students’ strengths and areas for improvement, guaranteeing continuous evolution of academic results, both in traditional exams and selection processes, Vasta said.

Pluralsight acquired by Vista Equity Partners, to become privately owned firm. Vista Equity Partners, a leading global investment firm that focuses on enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses, has acquired Pluralsight, Inc., a technology workforce development company, Pluralsight announced.

In partnership with institutional co-investors including Partners Group, Vista will acquire all outstanding shares of the Silicon Slopes, Utah-based Pluralsight’s common stock for $20.26 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3.5 billion.

Pluralsight has over 1,700 employees and provides technology workforce development solutions, including skills intelligence, skills development, and engineering management capabilities.

“Today’s announcement is an exciting milestone for Pluralsight as we begin the next phase of our evolution,” said Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight. “Through this partnership with Vista, we will be able to move faster and be more agile, accelerate our strategic vision and, ultimately, deliver deeper, more powerful solutions that help companies adapt and thrive in the digital age.”

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