K-12 Dealmaking: VIPKID Raises $500 Million; Microsoft Acquires Flipgrid

Contributing Writer

Chinese English language education company VIPKID raised $500 million. Also, Microsoft acquired classroom video platform Flipgrid.

VIPKID Raises $500 Million: VIPKID, a Chinese provider of English-language services, has raised $500 million in its series D+ financing round led by investment management firms Coatue Management, Tencent, Sequoia Capital and Yunfeng Capital.

In the first half of 2018, the Chinese K-12 education sector received a total of $1.5 billion in financing, with VIPKID’s $500 million alone securing a third of the total financing. Last year, the company raised $200 million in a Series D funding round led by Sequoia Capital.

In total, the company has received $700 million in financing in less than a year, “rewriting the financing record for online education—twice in a row,” the company claims in a statement.

“Tencent attaches great importance to investment in online education,” said Lin Haifeng, managing partner at Tencent Investment, “We hope to have close cooperation with our most important partners like VIPKID and to help the Chinese education industry explore the global market and the boundaries and possibilities of education.”

Microsoft Acquires Flipgrid: Microsoft has acquired educational video platform Flipgrid for an undisclosed sum, according to a blog posting on Microsoft Education’s website.

“To bring the power of video-based social learning to everyone, we’ll be making Flipgrid free for all educators and offering prorated refunds to everyone who has purchased a subscription from Flipgrid in the last year,” Eran Megiddo, corporate vice president of education at Microsoft said in the posting.

Megiddo continued: “Fans of Flipgrid can rest assured the Flipgrid they know and love, in joining Microsoft, will continue to grow and thrive across the Microsoft, Google and partner ecosystems, all while retaining its distinct brand, culture, and team.

Earlier this year, Microsoft Education hired the co-founder and CEO of class collaboration platform Chalkup and unveiled plans to integrate Chalkup’s technology into Microsoft Teams, a digital hub for students and teachers, according to blog postings from both companies.

TinyTap Raises $5 Million: Educational game creation platform TinyTap has closed a $5 million funding round led by Aleph venture capital fund, the company said in a statement. Previous investors, including Inimiti, Radiant and ReInvent, also participated.

The funding will be used to launch newly curated Learning Plans in Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish as well as to promote the company’s partnership with Oxford University Press to start a Learning Plan for English Language Learners, the company said.

The platform aims to enable children to learn by playing educational games created by teachers worldwide. “With TinyTap, educators can create custom material for their classes seamlessly,” the company explained, noting that educators can also share their games with other TinyTap users for free or sell their content as part of the premium subscription in the TinyTap marketplace.

“As a marketplace, we’re cutting out the dependency on a local education system,” said Yogev Shelly, TinyTap’s CEO. “TinyTap gives parents the tools to teach their kids any subject at home.”

codeSpark Partners With Launch CS: codeSpark Academy, a computer science platform for elementary school students, has formed a partnership with Launch CS to offer a professional development (PD) course to educators, according to a statement.

Dubbed codeSpark Launch, the course is designed to help educators teach students ages 5-10 years old, the basics of programming and the foundations of computational thinking. Developed specifically for K-5 teachers, the codeSpark Launch PD program is structured as a five-module course consisting of online training and supplemental physical materials.

“Our mission is to make coding accessible to all young people,” said Grant Hosford, co-creator of codeSpark Academy. “We’re investing in new professional development resources, classroom tools, research, and community support for K-5 educators who teach computer science to achieve this goal.

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