Category Archives: Funding & Deals

News about funding and deals in education 2.0.

EdTech Funding News

EdTech Funding: Over $270 million in August 2014

Digital Education logo smallOur EdTech Funding Coverage is brought to you by Digital Education.

Thanks to some significant rounds for Pluralsight ($135 million), Edmodo ($30 million) and Desire2Learn ($85 million CAD), August has been another strong month in edtech funding. All in all, over $270 million have been invested in edtech startups, ranging from seed to Series D rounds.

We did not include rounds in India and Asia in this rundown and will publish them shortly in a separate post. In this overview you find investments in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

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HEDLINE: Pluralsight raises $135 million Series B

Pluralsight, a Salt Lake City-based online training platform for technology professionals, has raised a $135 million Series B led by Insight Venture Partners with participation of ICONIQ Capital and Sorenson Capital.

The round brings Pluralsight’s valuation close to $1 billion reports TechCrunch. Pluralsight previously raised a $27.5 million Series A in January 2013 from Insight Venture Partners.

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EdTech Funding News

EdTech Funding July 2014: WeSpeke, OpenEd, MamaBear, ClassOwl

Digital Education logo smallOur EdTech Funding Coverage is brought to you by Digital Education.

In this EdTech Funding Roundup we take a look at investments we haven’t covered in our regular news rundown in July.

WeSpeke, a social network for language and cultural exchange, raised a $3 million Series B. OpenEd, a search and recommendation engine for Common Core aligned resources, raised a $2 million Seed Round. MamaBear, an all-in-one parenting app, raised a $1.4 million Angel Round. ClassOwl, a communication and organization app for college students, raised an $850k Seed Round.

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Robin Hood Foundation College Success Prize

Overview: The Semi-Finalists of the Robin Hood Foundation College Success Prize

The Robin Hood Foundation announced the semi-finalists of its College Success Prize. Through the competition, the Robin Hood Foundation aims to find scalable and technology-enabled tools to improve the performance of underprepared college students and thus help them to graduate in a timely fashion.

Each semi-finalist receives a $40.000 development grant and support in form of workshops and coaching. The three finalists which will be announced in January 2015 receive an additional $60.000 grant and can win up to $5 million, including the Grand Prize of $3.5 million which will be announced in October 2018.

The seventeen semi-finalists are a mix of edtech startups, established companies and early stage concepts.

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Desire2Learn D2L

Desire2Learn raises $85 million Series B for International Growth

Canada-based Desire2Learn raised an $85 million Series B led by a large institutional asset manager with participation from Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Graham Holdings, Four Rivers Group, Aurion Capital and existing investors New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures. Silicon Valley Bank also provided debt financing in this round.

The investment brings the company’s total funds raised to $165 million.

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Can a Kickstarter campaign #saveedshelf? Interview with edshelf co-founder Mike Lee

Last week we wrote about the 60+ edtech startups that are in risk of becoming seed orphans and therefore face an uncertain future. edshelf, an imagine K12 alumnus, is on the brink of shutting down but its co-founder Mike Lee decided to make a last stand in order to buy some additional time and turn his startup around.

edshelf is a socially curated directory of edtech tools that aims to help educators navigate the huge choice of educational apps, desktop programs and electronic products based on recommendations of its community.

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Qualcomm works on a Blueprint for Mobile Education to Offset Shrinking Smartphone Sales

Chipmaker Qualcomm announced the acquisition of mobile learning platform EmpoweredU for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 2011, EmpoweredU pivoted and changed names several times before settling on its current model, a mobile centered learning platform based upon the Canvas LMS. The EmpoweredU team will be integrated in Qualcomm’s other mobile focused education initiatives.

The company also announced that it has invested in Wowo, a mobile edtech startup through its new $150 million strategic fund for China which focuses on Internet, e-commerce, semiconductor, education and health. Wowo is targeting the pre-school English market.

At first glance these announcements seem to be a bit out of focus. Why does a hardware company want to be in the edtech space?

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EdTech Seed Orphans

There are over 60 potential EdTech Seed Orphans in the US

According to venture capital database CB Insights there are currently 1686 tech startups at risk of becoming “seed orphans” in the United States. Over 60 of these startups are in the education and training sector, scoring the vertical a spot in the top 5.

CB Insights put those startups at risk that did raise angel or seed funding in the past 13 months but did not manage to raise a seed extension or Series A yet. 13 months is the usual timeframe in which this follow-on funding takes place based on research by the analytics firm.

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