Number of Ed-Tech Unicorns Jumps by 20 Percent, Includes Large Pool of U.S. Companies

Staff Writer

A total of 31 ed-tech companies worldwide now have valuations of at least $1 billion, after eight companies vaulted above the “unicorn” threshold over roughly the last three months.

That’s according to an analysis conducted by HolonIQ, an global education research and intelligence company, which has tracked global ed-tech unicorns since 2017.

The 31 companies raised a combined $20 billion in funding during the last decade and are collectively valued at $91 billion, according to HolonIQ data.

Companies to join the list since the start of June include:

  • Adaptive learning provider KidsLoop, which recently raised money through a Series C funding round.
  • Direct-to-consumer course provider Emeritus, after raising a $650 million Series E round.
  • Upskilling platform upGrad, after raising a $65 million round.
  • Classroom management and ed-tech product provider GoGuardian, after raising a $200 million private equity round.
  • Online training platform Articulate, after raising a $1.5 billion Series A round.
  • Video-based tutoring platform GoStudent joined the list, after raising a $244 million Series C round.
  • Upskilling platform Go1, after raising a $244 million round.
  • Musical education provider JoyTunes, after raising a $50 million Series D round.

The U.S. is home to more ed-tech unicorns than any other nation, boasting 14 companies on the list. Eight listed companies are based in China, and four are headquartered in India.

The list is meant to be exhaustive, with the caveat that in rare instances, companies may choose not to disclose their valuation even though they’ve exceeded the $1 billion threshold, said Patrick Brothers, co-CEO and co-founder of HolonIQ.

“But that is very rare exception,” Brothers said. “For the most part, it’s seen as a milestone in the market, and companies are very quick to announce that they’ve achieved that level.”

Tutoring Companies Make Their Mark

HolonIQ removed language learning platform Duolingo from the list in July, online tutoring platform Zhangmen from the list in June, and online education platform Coursera from the unicorn list in March, after all three of those companies went public via IPO.

Other notable K-12 companies on the list include interactive online class provider Outschool and media literacy platform Newsela, which became unicorns in April and February, respectively.

The highest-valued company on the list is India-based tutoring provider Byju’s, which received a $150 million Series F round just this month, making the company worth an estimated $16.7 billion.

Five companies on the lineup are listed as tutoring companies; another four are categories as skills-based companies; three focus on corporate learning; two are online curriculum companies; two are language companies; and, another two are listed as study notes providers.

A couple factors motivated HolonIQ to compile a list of ed-tech unicorns worldwide, Brothers said.

Few education startups have achieved unicorn status, and their $1 billion-plus valuations signify “confidence and conviction” from global investors about how the future of ed tech and education, specifically, will take shape, he said.

“These are some of the organizations that smart folks around the world think will be part of the future of education,” Brothers said.

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