K-12 Dealmaking: Wonderschool Raises $20 Million; littleBits Acquires DIY

Contributing Writer

In this week’s dealmaking news, littleBits, a provider of technology kits for kids, announced the acquisition of DIY Co., an operator of online educational services for kids and their families, and Wonderschool, a platform that aims to help experienced educators and childcare providers start and run their own in-home businesses, raised $20 million.

Wonderschool Raises $20 Million: Wonderschool a network of early childhood programs, has raised $20 million in Series A financing led by Andreessen Horowitz with general partner Jeff Jordan joining its board, according to an announcement.

The latest financing will be used to add more products and services to the Wonderschool platform to help educators and caregivers start, operate and grow their own high-quality in-home preschools and daycares.

The funding, with additional participation from Omidyar, Gary Community Investments and First Round, will be used, in part, to help recruit new school openings in the existing Wonderschool markets of Los Angeles, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. These are “key markets where dense population has caused shortages in the availability of high-quality early childhood education programs including both preschools and daycares,” Wonderschool noted.

This round of funding includes participation from Cross Culture, Uncork Capital, Rethink Education, Edelweiss, Lerer Hippeau as well as angel investors Michael Ovitz, Kevin Hartz and Geoff Donaker. This round brings Wonderschool’s total financing to $24.1 million.

littleBits Acquires DIY:  littleBits, a provider of technology kits for kids, announced the acquisition of DIY Co., an operator of online educational services for kids and their families, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Complementing its line of STEAM kits that encourage creativity and learning through play, littleBits’ acquisition of DIY Co. “adds a host of digital educational content to its growing community of kid inventors—effectively expanding the company’s reach from educational toys and ed-tech to the $36 billion informal learning market, the company said in the statement.

“This acquisition marks the next step in littleBits’ evolution from a hardware-focused company to a technology company that leverages hardware, content streaming, and an online community to reinvent the way kids learn,” littleBits noted.

littleBits’ first offering with DIY Co. will be a set of online courses based on three new STEAM kits that the company is launching this fall. The kits will invite kids to learn from expert mentors and inventors, get inspired, and share their work with other kids.

The acquisition closed on July 24, 2018. littleBits noted it has added DIY Co.’s investors to its roster, including Spark Capital, Learn Capital, and Kleiner Perkins.

Daekyo Acquires Knowre: Seoul-based education company Daekyo Co., has acquired Knowre, an AI-based education technology company, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Knowre, founded in 2012, is a provider of a deep-learning based, AI math education technology platform that focuses on using technology to identify learning gaps and algorithmically delivering personalized curricula to students, according to the statement. In 2013, Daekyo and Knowre established a strategic partnership to develop “Summit Math” a digital math solution utilizing Knowre’s technology and providing real-time analysis and personalized content to all of Daekyo’s students throughout South Korea.

“Having partnered with Daekyo since 2013, this sale is a natural extension of the already close relationship between the two companies,” said David Joo, Knowre’s co-CEO. Yong Jae Kim, Knowre’s other Co-CEO added, “We are thrilled to be joining Daekyo. This transaction, with Daekyo’s support and expertise, will allow us to innovate faster and bring our technology and products to more students around the globe.”

Added Soo-Wan Park, CEO of Daekyo: “By combining Daekyo’s long-time education experience and know-how with Knowre’s technology and product development prowess, we will lead the global education market into the digital era.”

Concourse Global Raises $2 Million: Concourse Global, an online platform for education institutions that aims to bring together college guidance counselors and artificial intelligence to match and connect international students with higher education opportunities, has completed the initial closing of a staged $2 million in seed funding led by Colle Capital.

Other investors include A-Star Education, Third Kind VC, LearnStart, and Jay Varkey, group executive director of GEMS Education, according to a statement.

“We invested in Concourse because it fills an important niche in the portfolio of institutions and services that we offer our students, and provides a much-needed technology platform in a rapidly growing market,” said Brian Rogove, A-Star Education founder and CEO.

Concourse said it plans to use the new funding to expand and further develop their AI-based matching technology to increase opportunities for discovery and engagement between students, high school counselors, and universities.

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