K-12 Dealmaking: Kahoot Acquired by Investor Group That Includes Goldman Sachs

Staff Writer
Newsela acquires Formative, EdWeek Market Brief

Norwegian ed-tech company Kahoot agreed to be acquired by a group of investors led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management for $1.7 billion, or 17.2 Norwegian Krones.

Lego’s parent company, Kirkbi, is among the other co-investors, alongside private equity firm General Atlantic, Kahoot CEO Eilert Hanoa’s investment vehicle Glitrafjord, and other investors and management shareholders, Kahoot said.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory approvals.

In announcing the acquisition, Kahoot, which is traded on the Oslo Stock Exchange, also shared preliminary financial results for the second quarter. The company reported recognized revenue of more than $41 million for the quarter, up 14 percent year-over-year. The company also said its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization was $11 million for the quarter, an increase of 60 percent from the prior year’s period.

The offer to take Kahoot private offers shareholders about $3.48 a share, a 51 percent premium to its closing price of $2.28 in May when the investors disclosed their shareholding positions.

Kahoot was founded in 2013 and designed to offer students a game-based platform to learn a range of subjects. It has acquired seven companies in since it launched, one of the largest being a $500 million acquisition of digital learning platform Clever in May 2021.

“As the need for engaging learning, across home, school and work, continues to grow, I am excited about the opportunities this partnership represents for our users, our ecosystem of partners, and for the talented team across the Kahoot! Group, to advance education for hundreds of millions of learners everywhere,” Hanoa, Kahoot’s CEO, said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs noted Kahoot’s unique brand, extensive reach, and scalable technology and operations in its announcement of the deal, as well as its focus on a wide range of customers, from school children to enterprise clients.

The acquisition will allow Kahoot to benefit from operating as a private company, Goldman Sachs and co-investors said, noting that it plans to invest in product innovation and growth both organically and through acquisitions. Having access to private capital will allow the company to significantly boost it go-to-market strategy, it added.

“Kahoot is unlocking learning potential for children, students and employees across the world. The company has a clear mission and value proposition and our investment will help to grow its impact and accelerate value for all stakeholders,” Michael Bruun, global co-head of private equity at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said in a statement. “Through this transaction, we are pleased to partner with a fantastic leadership team and group of co-investors to expand a mission-critical learning and engagement platform and contribute to its further growth and innovation.”

The investment is another move by Lego parent company Kirkbi to grow its presence in the ed-tech market, after the company acquired BrainPop, maker of video-based learning tools, in October 2022.

In a statement, Kirkbi Chief Investment Officer Thomas Lau Schleicher said Kahoot’s mission resonates with his organization’s “core values” and it finds “the investment fits very well with Kirkbi’s long-term investment strategy.”

Mexican ed-tech company raises $19 million in GSV-led round. Mattilda, a Mexico City-based startup that offers payment software services for private schools, raised $19 million in a Series A round led by GSV Ventures.

FinTech Collective, a fintech venture capital firm based in New York City, and Mexico City-based venture capital firm Dila Capital also participated in the round.

The Mexico City-based company has now raised a total of $39 million, which includes a $10 million seed round last year.

Mattilda has now raised a total of $39 million, including a $10 million seed round in October 2022.

The startup’s payment platform is designed to help private schools manage the administration and collection of school tuition and fees. With the new funding, it aims to expand throughout Latin America in both the K-12 and higher education sectors, the company said.

“We are very happy with the outcome of our Series A and excited to count with the support of top-tier global investors. We want to be the primary administrative partner for private schools in Mexico and Latin America, helping with collections, payments, financing, and the overall administration of schools,” José Agote, co-founder and CEO of Mattilda said in a statement.

The company reports having 35,000 student users on the platform. It also offers a revenue-based loan program to schools.

“We are excited to support Mattilda in its mission to transform the financial management of private schools in Mexico and Latin America,” GSV Ventures’ Managing Partner Deborah Quazzo said in a statement. “We believe Mattilda’s platform is best positioned to solve the administrative and financial problem faced by schools and to make a significant positive impact on access to quality education in the region.”

Online training platform secures growth investment from Decathlon Capital Partners. V School, a coding and web design training platform, raised a growth funding round from Decathlon Capital Partners.

Terms of the investment were not disclosed. Decathlon is a revenue-based financing firm that offers companies non-dilutive funding, meaning investors do not receive equity for their investments. The funding is instead repaid to investors through a percentage of the company’s future revenue. Decathlon works primarily with companies with annual revenue between $4 million and $100 million.

Salt Lake City-based V School’s platform is designed to be responsive to students’ backgrounds and learning needs, and help them build a portfolio by developing real-world projects. The company said the new cash infusion will support the launch of new cybersecurity and digital marketing programs.

“Our graduates are landing jobs in the tech industry at two times the average rate of university graduates or bootcamp attendees,” V School CEO and co-founder Michael Zaro said. “That’s due to our responsive learning model, which allows students to progress based on mastery of skills and not course hours or credits. They are fully immersed in hands-on projects and always have access to all the materials they may need, which lets them move onto new skills on their own timeline.”

As macroeconomic conditions continue to shift and venture capital investors become more cautious, non-traditional funding options like revenue-based financing are gaining attention.

One of the reasons Decathlon was interested in V School is it own different financing options for students, including an option that allows students to repay tuition based on their future income, Decathlon Capital Partners Vice President Matt Hoffman said in a statement.

“As V School continues to grow, its student population and make the technology industry more accessible through its income share agreement and scholarships, Decathlon Capital Partners is excited to watch the expansion of its programs, as well as the launch of new ones,” he said.

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