K-12 Dealmaking: Zum Raises $140M; ETS Acquires Workforce Testing Company

Staff Writer
K-12 dealmaking

Student transportation company Zum raised $140 million in a Series E funding round led by Singapore-based investment firm GIC.

Zum, based in Redwood City, California, offers schools transportation services that are centered around its artificial intelligence-powered platform and fleets of electric buses. It reports serving school districts in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and Nashville, among others.

The company has raised more than $350 million since it was founded in 2015, with the most recent round valuing the company at $1.3 billion. In addition to previous investors Sequoia and Softbank, Climate Investment also joined in the Series E.

With the influx of new capital, Zum said it plans to invest in growing its platform and its efforts to build out the capabilities of its electric bus fleet. A main goal of the company’s is to address climate change caused by gas-powered school busses.

“Zum is on a mission to revolutionize student transportation, moving beyond the status quo towards a future where innovative technologies are used to advance sustainability efforts,” Ritu Narayan, Zum’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Securing this latest round of funding, especially in a challenging economic climate, is a resounding vote of confidence in our vision and ability to execute. This investment marks a pivotal moment in our journey, empowering us to turn school buses into powerful tools for environmental change.”

GIC was drawn to the deal based on its focus to net-zero emissions, its chief investment officer of private equity, Choo Yong Cheen, said in a statement.

“We are proud to partner with Zum’s impressive leadership team to support their work to transform student transportation, the largest source of mass transit today, into an impactful renewable energy source,” he said.

ETS acquires PSI. New Jersey-based testing giant ETS acquired occupational certification and licensing company PSI.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ETS said purchasing PSI, based in Olathe, Kan., is part of its efforts to expand its focus on the workforce skills sector as employers and governments seek to upskill employees for changing workplace needs.

PSI partners with certifying agencies to design and deliver professional certification tests in the health care, architecture, finance, and IT industries, as well as licensing tests in insurance, real estate, cosmetology, trades, and construction.

Combined, the companies say they plan to offer a suite of products and services aimed at workforce skills testing and development.

PSI CEO Janet Garcia will remain as CEO following the acquisition, an ETS spokesperson said in an email announcing the acquisition.

“As two of the world’s leading measurement experts in design and delivery, this partnership offers clients and test takers an unrivaled set of capabilities and a combined strength and stability to positively impact millions of individuals throughout their learning and career journeys,” Garcia said in a statement.

ETS CEO Amit Sevak called the deal an “important milestone” for ETS as it pushes forward with its efforts to move into the workforce development space and “become the trusted source to measure, certify, and license skills and demonstrate progress.”

Instructure completes Parchment acquisition. Learning management system provider Instructure said it has completed its $835 million deal to purchase Parchment, one of the largest credentialing platforms in the education market.

Salt Lake City-based Instructure said the deal will allow it to expand its existing customer base and tap into additional growth opportunities.
Parchment’s platform seeks to digitize the process of issuing transcripts, diplomas, certificates, and other learning credentials to make it easier for students to transfer credits and transition between institutions. The company, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., was founded in 2003 and says it has more than 15,000 customers.

Parchment is anticipated to add about $115 million to Instructure’s balance sheets this calendar year, the company said when it first announced the deal.

Acquiring Parchment will allow Instructure to provide customers with “a verifiable and comprehensive digital passport of achievement records and outcomes for learners,” Instructure CEO Steve Daly said in a statement, adding that the company will now be able to help customers “navigate skill mastery, transfer credits, provide proof of prior learning, and much more.”

The deal follows a string of acquisitions Instructure has made in recent years, including ed-tech management tool LearnPlatform in December 2022.

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Image by Getty.

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