The Number of Ed-Tech Unicorns Grows, Fueled by Pandemic-Era Fundraising

Contributing Writer
Number of Ed Tech Unicorns Globally Grows, EdWeek Market Brief

The number of ed-tech companies worth $1 billion or more continues to grow. 

There are now 33 ed-tech unicorns across the globe, up from 22 at the same time last year, according to Holon IQ, a global research and intelligence firm based in Australia. 

It’s another sign of the significant surge in venture capital and private equity funding compared to pre-pandemic levels that education companies are currently enjoying.

According to Holon IQ, the 33 ed-tech unicorns have collectively raised over $28 billion of total funding in the last decade and are now valued at more than $100 billion. (See the list of the 10 most highly valued ed-tech companies, below.)

Topping the list: India’s homegrown ed-tech juggernaut, Byju’s, which has a $22 billion valuation and has been raising huge sums of money on a staggering scale. The company’s most recent fundraising round of $800 million brings the the total it has raised since the beginning of the pandemic to $2.5 billion. 

Some of the companies that joined the list recently include:

  • Lead School, an ed-tech firm based in India that helps K-12 schools secure books and other resources from vendors. It made the leap into unicorn territory in January after a $100 million Series E funding round.
  • Online tutoring startup Vedantu, which raised $100M through a Series E funding round in late 2021.

The most valuable U.S-based ed-tech startup, according to Holon IQ, is BetterUp, which focuses on adult learning and workforce training (not K-12).  

Course Hero, which offers course-specific study resources contributed by a community of students and educators, is the U.S.-based education startup with the highest valuation ($3.6 billion) that competes in the K-12 marketplace though the company was originally focused only on higher ed. 

The U.S. is home to more ed-tech unicorns than any other nation.

Of the 33 ed-tech unicorns, 15 are from the United States. Eight are from China. And six are based in India. The rest are made up of companies from Europe, Canada and Israel. 

In the last year, four education startups that were unicorns as private companies — Doulingo, Udemy, Zhangmen and Coursera — have gone public via initial public offerings, a signal of a growing interest among ed-tech firms to test the public markets. 

The 10 Most Valuble Ed-Tech Unicorns:

  1. Byju’s: $22B
  2. Yuanfudao: $15.5B
  3. Zuoyebang: $10B
  4. BetterUp: $4.7B
  5. VIPKid: $4.5B
  6. Guild Education: $3.8B
  7. Articulate: $3.75B
  8. Course Hero: $3.6B
  9. Handshake: $3.5B
  10. GoStudent: $3.4B

Image by Getty

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