K-12 Dealmaking: Texthelp Makes Acquisition; Austrian Company GoStudent Announces Major Fundraise

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K-12 dealmaking

Texthelp, a technology company that develops tools for special-needs populations, literacy, and other needs, is acquiring the ed-tech division of Don Johnston, Inc., a company that also focuses on assistive products and curriculum.

Founded in 1996, Texthelp has offices in Northern Ireland, Massachusetts, and Australia. It has built an array of products that include Read&WriteEquatIOWriQFluency TutorReachDeck, and SpeechStream.

The two organizations have an “incredibly similar mission to elevate as many students as possible, helping them understand and be understood,” Texthelp CEO and founder Martin McKay said in a statement.

Our combined teams and expanded range of products will allow us to give millions more students in the U.S. and across the globe the best possible start in life and help them fulfill their full potential. Along with the Don Johnston team, we will continue to innovate and develop our suite of products to create the best assistive technology tools available.”  

Don Johnston, a U.S.-based company, since 1980 has been crafting assistive and evaluative tools for students and adults. The organization says it has helped over 32,000 schools since its inception.

Its products include Co:Writer, Snap&Read, uPAR, Word Bank and Quizbot — a group of tools focused on helping students with dyslexia, autism, dysgraphia, and other learning barriers.

Austrian Company Raises Series D funding: GoStudent, a provider of online video tutoring, raised 300 millions Euros in Series D funding to support its international expansion, continued product development, and other goals.

The funding round was led by a new investor, the Dutch corporation Prosus, with additional participation from Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Tencent, Dragoneer, Left Lane Capital, and Coatue.

The new funding comes seven months after GoStudent became Europe’s first ed-tech unicorn, raising a Series C round of €205M in June 2021, according to a statement from Prosus. GoStudent company has raised +€590M since it was founded in 2016, said Prosus, a global consumer internet group and tech investor.

“Education has seen a whirlwind of change, from remote classrooms to increased academic ambitions, and we believe there is a big opportunity to transform how students learn all over the world by expanding access to quality education,” said Felix Ohswald, Co-Founder and CEO of GoStudent.

“We are thrilled to receive support from both new and existing investors as we continue to revolutionize education worldwide.”

Part of GoStudent’s goal with the new Series D funding is to expand globally. The company said its goal is to enter at least six markets this year, including the U.S., the Asian Pacific, and the Middle East/North American region.

GoStudent officials said that last year their company had established offices in 19 countries — it now operates in 22 nations — and hired 1,000 employees and 10,000 tutors.

The company’s announcement also comes at a time when many U.S. districts are putting a major emphasis on tutoring and other interventions meant to address student academic setbacks during the pandemic.

Those efforts are supported by a massive flow of federal aid, a portion of which must be devoted specifically to curbing “learning loss.” Districts in the U.S. have until 2024 to spend much of the emergency stimulus funding, though many K-12 leaders also worry about devoting money to long-term needs that have a finite amount of money behind them, as EdWeek Market Brief has reported.

EarlyBird Education Raises $3.5 million. EarlyBird Education, the developer of a literacy assessment for young students, has raised $3.5 million in funding, in a round led by Lobby Capital.

The funding is meant to fuel Early Bird Education’s expansion in schools across the country, and to help it research the consumer market, the organization said.

The new funding follows a $1.5 million fundraising round last year that was supported by investors that included Reach Capital, Amplify Capital, Flare Capital Partners, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Solve Innovation Future program.

In addition to the funding from Lobby CapitalDavid Hornik, founding partner at Lobby Capital and founder of the Lobby Conferences, will join the EarlyBird Education Board of Directors, the organization said.

EarlyBird Education’s assessment program was developed at Boston Children’s Hospital in partnership with faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research. Its program is meant to help educators identify and help children at risk for dyslexia and other reading difficulties, work that begins even before they learn to read.

Career Karma Raises $40 Million in Series B. Career Karma, an online provider of information about job training, career guidance, and bootcamps in coding, web design, and other areas, announced it has raised $40 million in Series B funding, in a round led by Top Tier Capital Partners.

The company says it currently offers a directory of 9,000 bootcamps and trade schools. The infusion of new funding will allow the company to expand into higher education and enterprise-focused products, the company said in an online post.

“With 1 billion people needing new skills by 2030, there’s infinite demand for job training, [with] thousands of schools competing to get access to those people,” wrote company co-founders Ruben Harris, Artur Meyster, and Timur Meyster, “and Career Karma serving as the sole bridge between workers, schools, and companies in its own category.”

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