K-12 Dealmaking: Kahoot Acquires Clever, in Deal Combining Game-Based Platform and Single-Sign-On Provider

Staff Writer

Kahoot, a game-based learning platform, will acquire San Francisco-based Clever, a single-sign-on platform widely used in K-12, in a transaction that will carry a value of $435 million to $500 million, Kahoot announced.

The Norway-based company touted the deal as one that would bring together businesses with “complimentary strengths” — if very different product lines — with a focus on the U.S. market, where Kahoot has established a major footprint in recent years.

Kahoot will acquire all of Clever’s shares on a cash and debt-free basis, and the consideration will consist of a combination of cash and Kahoot shares.

“Through this acquisition we see considerable potential to collaborate on education innovation to better service all our users – schools, teachers, students, parents and lifelong learners – and leveraging our global scale to offer Clever’s unique platform worldwide,” Kahoot CEO Eilert Hanoa said in a statement.

“The acquisition of Clever will strengthen our offerings towards schools, districts and families in Kahoot at School and Kahoot at Home.”

Clever is perhaps best known in the K-12 market for its products aimed at allowing school districts to establish a cohesive system for managing their multitude of proprietary ed-tech programs and apps. It set up a process to organize class roster and student accounts, and began offering a single-sign-on service designed to make it easier to for students to log in and use proprietary systems in a seamless way.

It later launched a tool designed to help school districts track ed-tech usage, only to pull the plug on the product a year later.

The U.S.-based company says it says half of all U.S. students in more than 89,000 schools, representing 65 percent of the the country’s school districts, and engaged over 20 million students monthly, delivering 5.6 billion learning sessions. Clever will continue exist under its own brand and operate as an independent company.

As part of the new arrangement, Clever will weave Kahoot’s collection of learning apps onto its platform, which will allow the Norwegian company to reach millions of more students, the two organizations said.

“Being part of the Kahoot family will give us the opportunity to not only continue our mission, but to accelerate our plans to serve international markets,” Clever CEO and co-founder Tyler Bosmeny said in a statement. “We are inspired to be a part of Kahoot Group and excited to work with Eilert and the team to unlock the opportunities ahead for schools around the globe.”

The acquisition will increase Clever’s presence internationally, the companies said, by expanding the use of its platform across the 200 countries that Kahoot serves, and giving Clever’s application partners an entry into global markets.

Clever expects to reach $44 million in billed revenues for 2021 from its U.S. ecosystem partners, after a compound annual growth rate of approximately 25 percent in the last three years, reinvesting all cash into developing its offerings, the announcement says.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the second quarter.

Education-Focused Private Equity Firm Closes Fund. New York-based Quad Partners, which describes itself as a lower middle-market private equity firm focused on the education industry, announced the closing of its Quad Partners Fund VI at the fund’s hard cap of $388 million.

The fund comprises investments from U.S. and European investors.

Quad VI will seek to acquire and invest in high-quality, growth-oriented education businesses and help them expand organically and through acquisitions. It will give “particular focus” to owner-operated businesses wherein the firm believes it can help drive value through “industry and operational expertise,” the announcement says.

The firm’s last fund closed in 2018 with $229 million of capital.

“We are grateful for the longstanding partnership with our investors and welcome the new limited partners who are joining us in our efforts to build high-quality education companies,” Quad co-founders Lincoln Frank and Daniel Neuwirth said in a statement.

Quad mentioned several recent investments and exits.

The firm recently backed K-12 special education SaaS platform AmplioSpeech as well as university externship and career placement management SaaS platform InPlace Software. Over the past year, Quad also successfully exited investments in technology learning company Learn on Demand Systems; admissions and enrollment management software company SchoolAdmin; research management platform Cayuse; and, higher ed recruitment, admissions, and retention platform TargetX.

McGraw Hill Acquires Online Training Platform for Microsoft Office. The education giant on May 4 announced its acquisition of Triad Interactive, Inc., the software developer for the SIMnet product for undergraduate computer and information technology classes.

SIMnet, an online training and assessment solution for Microsoft Office, provides students with simulated and in-app exercises using Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.

McGraw Hill has partnered with Triad for years, marketing and distributing the product through its higher education channels, and all Triad employees have joined McGraw Hill since the acquisition.

“This acquisition is the exciting and logical next step in our longtime relationship with Triad and their incredible employees,” Michael Ryan, president of McGraw Hill’s Higher Education group, said in a statement. “By joining together, we’ll be able to make SIMnet stronger and better, improving implementation and support services for customers, fueling future growth and development of the product, and exploring new markets and channels to bring the program to a larger audience.”

Software Acquisition Company Acquires K-12 Safety Software Firm. Montreal-based Valsoft has acquired ScholarChip, which provides K-12 identity management, visitor management, and behavioral software, according to an announcement by Valsoft.

Valsoft’s mission is to acquire and develop vertical market software companies, with a stated goal of molding well-established companies into industry leaders.

Valsoft experience “will help ScholarChip further its mission of promoting safe and supportive school climates,” ScholarChip CFO and President Craig Lockwood said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have found a partner with a shared vision and a long-term view.”

Lockwood and his senior leadership team will continue in their current positions, ensuring a “seamless transition,” the announcement says.

ScholarChip’s specific offerings include secure door access, attendance, visitor management, and cafeteria point-of-sale solutions.

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