K-12 Dealmaking: PowerSchool Acquires Hoonuit; Carnegie Learning Receives Strategic Growth Investment

Contributing Writer

The last few weeks saw a surge of acquisitions and investments in the ed-tech sector, as the market scrambles to stay ahead of students’ growing needs to learn remotely.

This edition of K-12 Dealmaking highlights acquisitions in the AI ed-tech subsector and mergers between math platform providers and assessment platform providers.

PowerSchool acquires Hoonuit. Folsom, Calif.-based PowerSchool announced the acquisition of K-12 data analytics and management company Hoonuit.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The intent is to allow the companies to achieve “breakthrough analytics” that integrate with the student information systems, learning management systems, enrollment, enterprise resource planning, and talent products that schools currently use, a PowerSchool press release states.

“With the acquisition of Hoonuit, PowerSchool can now offer a fully comprehensive education technology portfolio for K-12 educators with advanced analytics woven throughout,” PowerSchool CEO Hardeep Gulati said in a statement. “The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in schools, while also increasing challenges in equity, enrollment, and learning outcomes. We are dedicated to ensuring the tools educators are using today to bridge enrollment and learning gaps, and better manage district operations, will also enhance student outcomes into the future.”

PowerSchool said that through its acquisition of Hoonuit, it will provide greater insights across all key aspects of schools and districts, increased visibility into enrollment, attendance, and learning engagement data, public-facing performance accountability dashboards for schools and districts, and personalized instruction and intervention informed by predictive insights and AI modeling.

PowerSchool will continue Hoonuit’s integrations with all K-12 data sources, including non-PowerSchool systems such as student information systems; assessment, financial, staff and HR systems; and other third-party educational tools, PowerSchool said.

AI ed-tech company receives investment from leading private equity firm. Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Learning, which provides AI for education and formative assessment, announced a strategic growth investment from funds affiliated with Chicago-based Madison Dearborn Partners.

The investment transfers majority stake in Carnegie from New York-based private equity firm CIP Capital, which first invested in Carnegie in 2018, to MDP.

With the support of MDP funds, Carnegie in September announced the acquisition of Scientific Learning Corp., which offers a language and cognitive platform developed by neuroscientists to accelerate learning and reading.

“We expect to benefit from MDP’s extensive resource network in the education technology space and expertise supporting high-growth technology companies like ourselves,” Carnegie Learning CEO Barry Malkin said in a statement. “Our ability to provide sophisticated, flexible digital solutions, and help administrators and educators ensure the success of their students, is further enhanced by adding Scientific Learning and its powerful reading platform to our suite of solutions.”

Carnegie Learning leverages AI-driven and research-based adaptive learning capabilities to power software that complements its digital and printed instructional materials spanning math, English/language arts, and world languages, according to the company.

The company also recently launched a supplemental software providing educators flexibility to customize a student’s learning path on an individual basis, called MATHiaFlex.

Math tutoring company acquires math technology platform provider. Saga Education, a nonprofit that provides math tutoring and mentoring on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Woot Math, a suite of tools for in-person and online math instruction that prepares students to learn algebra.

Saga Education plans to make its tutoring technology broadly available to other tutoring organizations and school districts and to make Woot Math’s tools available to teachers and districts at a lower price.

“To address COVID-19 learning loss, which disproportionately affects historically underserved students, schools and districts need to provide high-dosage, individualized tutoring,” Saga Education President and co-founder Alan Safran said in a statement. “The bold and innovative technology coming out of Woot Math is a great addition to helping Saga accelerate our efforts to scale the program by making it more affordable, more accessible.”

In addition to math, Woot Math’s digital interfaces address formative assessment, adaptive learning, and peer-to-peer-based learning.

Last year, Saga and Woot Math co-developed an online platform for use in a study supporting youth from underserved communities.

Turnitin acquires ExamSoft. Oakland, Calif.-based assessment provider Turnitin has acquired Dallas-headquartered software-based assessment platform ExamSoft from Spectrum Equity, Turnitin announced.

Together, Turnitin and ExamSoft will offer institutions further flexibility when delivering assessments at various educational and professional levels, and the merger will allow Turnitin and ExamSoft to provide expanded product offerings that allow customers to choose a combination of tools and services that best suit their assessment needs, Turnitin’s announcement said.

In 2018, Turnitin acquired Gradescope, an assessment platform that works to streamline grading workflows across assignment types and subject areas.

“Turnitin and ExamSoft share a passion for student success and delivering innovative assessments,” Turnitin CEO Chris Caren said in a statement. “ExamSoft’s robust testing platform meaningfully complements and grows our existing assessment offerings. Together, we form an even stronger company that meets the ever-changing needs of the educational and professional organizations we serve.”

Course Hero acquires Symbolab. Redwood City, Calif.-based Course Hero has acquired Israel-based artificial intelligence math platform Symbolab, Course Hero announced.

Symbolab technology will integrate into the Course Hero platform, and Symbolab will retain its existing brand and its team of mathematicians, developers, and computer scientists.

The acquisition follows an $80 million Series B fundraise by Course Hero.

“We are constantly exploring innovative ways to make mathematics accessible for students, reducing anxiety and equipping them with the understanding they need to persist at the next level,” Symbolab co-founder and CEO Michal Avny said in a statement. “By joining forces with Course Hero, our technology solutions will give many millions of students the confidence they need for broader educational success.”

Course Hero is a platform that offers 40 million course-specific study resources and 24/7 tutoring help.

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