If you have been Rip Van Winkle then you are unlikely to be aware of that enormous amount of funds that have been raised in 2018 and early 2019. The numbers can be and are quite staggering.
Most folks would assume that every vendor (in order to do X) are seeking funding, but that just isn’t the case. There are plenty of vendors in e-learning who do not want nor seek the raising of capital.
When you raise capital, the folks giving you the funds (investors) are not doing it out of their kindest of the hearts. They expect returns. They expect growth and the vendor hitting targets. And they expect to get their money back at some point, often double at the minimum.
They take a percentage of the company. Maybe a few percentile points, maybe 50 percent or more.
In other words, raising capital comes with pluses ($$$) and minuses. There are vendors who raise a few million and the investor or investors take a strong interest in the firm to the point that the former person running the show is no longer the key player. Others are hands-off (at least for the time being).
Often times, the consumer is unaware of the numbers being raised by vendors. Nor are they aware that their favorite platform or vendor could be seeking to raise capital.
Some vendors raise huge amounts, only to burn thru them faster than the Superman racing a locomotive. Grovo, once a big darling in the space, is a fine example of a high burn rate.
Who is leading the charge?
Before viewing, there are a couple of key data points.
a. The vast amount of funding is via EdTech – A lot of money is flowing thru the educational market.
b. A large amount of funding is from China, focusing specifically on Chinese companies.
c. Corporate – as in vendors targeting the corporate market are raising funds, but by no means, from a totality standpoint is it close to EdTech.
In recent news, for example, GO1 raised 30 million dollars and people went “ooh, ahh.” A firm (EdTech) in China raised over 250 million dollars, and you heard only crickets.
Who has Received What in 2019 (as of March 31, 2019)
The list will be presented as the following
(Name of the vendor, Amount raised, type of funding (Series A, B, C, D, Angel/Seed). For this post, vendors who raised funds whereas the amount was not disclosed anywhere, they are excluded.
The list will be from recent to past, as in March is first, then February and then January 2019. Again, this is only for 2019. If the vendor targets EdTech it will be noted. If Corporate the same.
Let’s roll the tape
Acquisition – FPE Capital has scored a 3x return selling UK HCM Kallidus to Apse Capital. No details on the deal amount.
Acquisition – The Emerald Group acquired Mind Tools. The deal amount at this time, cannot be made public (and yes, I do know).
- Xiaoyang Edu, 22.29M (USD), Series B, EdTech
- Kide Science, 750,000 (Euros), Seed, EdTech
- Entangled Solutions, 15M (USD), Venture, EdTech
- DanceA, 1.4M (USD), Angel, EdTech
- Huohua Siwei, 40M (USD), Series C, EdTech (to date they have raised 75M)
- AMOpportunities, 2.2M (USD), From University of Chicago, EdTech
- DigitalEd, 7M (USD), Venture, EdTech
- InsideSherpa, 150K (USD), Seed, EdTech
- GO1, 30M (USD), Series B, Corporate
- Skill Lync, 150K (USD), Seed, EdTech
- Tigerhall, 1.8M (USD), Seed, Corporate – Knowledge Sharing Platform
- Newsela, 50M (USD), Series C, EdTech
- Emmersion Learning, 2.4M (USD), Series A, EdTech
- TalkiPlay, 750K (USD), Seed, EdTech
- Maihe International Education Technology, 2.2M (USD), Angel, EdTech
- MobieTrain, 1.4M USD, Seed, Corporate
- Elsa, 7M (USD), Series A, EdTech
- Mursion, 8M (USD), Series A, Corporate and EdTech – Creates VR immersive training
Instructure acquires Portfolium (digital portfolio company) for 43M USD, of which 25.8M is cash and the rest is stock.
Edcast acquired Leapest. Deal details not disclosed.
- Rockmelon, 3M USD, Angel, EdTech
- XiaoMa.Wang, 14.87M USD, Series B, EdTech
- Administrate, 4.8M USD, Series A, Corporate (LMS)
- Crehana, 4.5M USD, Series A, Corporate
- EMERITUS, 40M USD, Series C, EdTech
- Ignis Careers, 150K USD, Seed, EdTech
- Yiding Education, 1.49M USD, Seed, EdTech (no web site as of yet)
- Hone, 3.6M USD, Seed, Corporate
Stepstone acquired Studydrive. Deal details not disclosed.
- Kognity, 4.43M USD, Series A, EdTech
- DaDa, 255M USD, Series D, EdTech (In 2018, they raised 100M USD)
- IndigoLearn, 135K, Seed, EdTech
- Micro language, 7.3M USD, Series A, EdTech
- Immersive Labs, 8M USD, Series A, Corporate
Different Types of Funding Explanations
Investopedia does an outstanding job explaining it for everyday human (i.e. none Wall Street type of person)
The Access Group has acquired Unicorn Training, who among other items, are the folks behind Unicorn LMS, the best FS LMS on the market. I do anticipate expansion into other verticals for Unicorn. Details of the sale amount cannot be published at this time as per confidential agreement.
There you have it. As you can see EdTech is where the money is flowing, but corporate does have a couple of dips into the funding ice cream machine.
Big winners were EdTech marketplace platforms whereas a person can learn a skill, language thru purchasing content. Kognity is a SaaS digital publishing platform focused on textbooks, but I could see them easily doing digital workbooks on the corporate side, something some consumers are actively seeking (and which is non-education oriented).
Another funding post will be made at the end of July.