K-12 Dealmaking: Weld North Education Acquires Digital Science Curriculum; Tutoring Startup Raises $100 Million

Staff Writer

Weld North Education, the largest digital curriculum provider in the U.S., has expanded to offer science products by acquiring Twig Education, the companies announced. 

Twig Education, which is based in the U.K., describes itself as a highly engaging and multimedia-rich, digital-first science program. The company has partnerships with Imperial College London, Stanford University, and BBC Studios.

The acquisition will help Weld North Education in its goal to expand digital core curriculum offerings beyond English and math and “empower educators to … support each student’s unique learning journey,” the announcement said. 

“Every time a child interacts with a digital curriculum there is a footprint about what she did, how much time she spent on a passage; did she get it right or wrong, did she ask for help?” Founder and CEO of Weld North, Jonathan Grayer, said in an interview. “You can imagine the power of that, when managed well. That’s what we’re striving towards.”

Grayer said his company, founded in 2010, looks for curriculum that offers a hands-on approach and focuses on storytelling that makes science relevant to learners. The idea is for digital tools to support teachers in the classroom, not try to replace that experience, he said.

Weld North is interested in all subject areas, but Grayer said they were drawn to Twig because of the company’s success in California. Twig, which was founded in 2009 and came to the U.S. in 2018, has a 30 percent share of the elementary science market in California, according to the acquisition announcement. The company also provides digital and print resources to more than 60 countries and in 20 different languages.

Age of Learning announces largest-ever investment. Digital education program provider Age of Learning, Inc., announced last month that it raised a $300 million private equity investment. 

The round, led by TPG, marked the largest-ever raise by a U.S. ed-tech company, according to the announcement. Age of Learning, which provides online math and English-language academies, also saw investments from Qatar Investment Authority and Madrone Capital Partners.

The investment will be used to expand Age of Learning’s global reach and invest in new products and technologies to help educate more students, the announcement said. So far, the company’s programs have been used by more than 50 million children globally.

“Every child deserves a strong foundation for academic success, and we are committed to delivering on this promise for kids everywhere,” said CEO Paul Candland. “ We couldn’t be more excited to partner with TPG and their global team as we continue to unlock access to opportunity for all kids around the world.”

Acquisition will allow Instructure to improve new technology adoption for schools. Education software company Instructure will acquire EesySoft, an Amsterdam company that helps schools adopt new technology, according to an  announcement.

Through the acquisition, EesySoft will be rebranded as Impact by Instructure, and offer solutions designed to help schools seamlessly navigate new platforms and measure the impact the tools have on student outcomes through new dashboards and in-app messages that provide key insights.

“As we transition into a post-pandemic era, districts and schools are under increased pressure to measure the …. positive impact of their technology investments,” said Instructure CEO Steve Daly in a statement. “Impact by Instructure is designed to help all education technology solutions demonstrate their usefulness in school communities.”

The acquisition will build on the companies’ existing partnership. Currently, EesySoft helps educators and students more effectively use learning management systems, such as Instructure’s Canvas. 

Corporate learning provider acquires digital coaching platform Pluma. Skillsoft, a global corporate digital learning provider, is acquiring professional development and coaching platform Pluma, the companies announced last month. 

The acquisition marks Skillsoft’s entry into individualized coaching, as well as adding a new modality to its blended learning model, according to the announcement. Pluma’s hundreds of coaches that span six continents will fold into Skillsoft’s Percipio platform, allowing existing customers access to them.

Skillsoft has seen a growing demand for personalized coaching, the announcement said. The number of leadership coaches increased by 33 percent globally between 2015 and 2019, according to the International Coaching Federation.

“The shift from classroom to digital and blended learning has continued to increase demand for personalized virtual coaching to help companies address leadership blind spots and develop talent,” Skillsoft CEO Jeffery Tarr said in a statement. “Pluma’s solution quickly addresses gaps and achieves meaningful, quantifiable improvement with a highly scalable model.” 

Tutoring software startup raises $100 million. Paper, a Montreal-based startup that provides educational software to power tutoring services in schools, announced that it has raised $100 million in a Series C round. 

The round was led by IVP, according to the announcement last month. Other investors include Framework Venture Partners, Bullpen Capital, Reach Capital, Birchmere Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and BDC Capital.

With Paper’s software, students can request live, on-demand tutoring help. In the last year, Paper has grown from 100 tutors to 1,000, offering support in four languages across 200 subject areas. It’s reach has expanded from about 50,000 students to more than one million across North America, according to the press release.

“We are thrilled by the feedback we continue to receive from school districts, teachers, parents, and students alike related to the critical academic support we are providing kids,” said Paper CEO Philip Cutler. “Tutoring, once reserved for the privileged few, is now broadly accessible, leveling the playing field across all students.”  

The financing will be used to scale the business and further invest in Paper’s Educational Support System, according to a press release.

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