5 Edtech Investment Trends Imparting Wisdom
Arguably the most obvious platform for edtech to find success is at teaching users tech-related skills. As schools are moving away from the more traditional ‘computing’ wherein they teach pupils how to navigate the Microsoft Office suite, it’s becoming far more common for pupils to learn coding, be it in or outside of school.
London-based Kano, for example, which landed USD15m in May, originally started off as a Kickstarter project. Kano is a build-it-yourself computer for children, built on top of a Raspberry Pi, which then hopes to teach the user to code with the help of its child-friendly interface. Another aimed at children is Wonder Workshop, which landed USD6.9m, also aims to help children to learn to code by connecting the language to hardware with the use of robots. Coding game CodeFights, The Flatiron school and design and coding platform, Thinkful also raised funding.
As mobile devices get more powerful, along with newer operating systems, their capabilities for running games are also improving. With this, mobile gaming is increasing in popularity and feature prominently in app store charts. Many are now also applying the popularity of mobile games and the high engagement they encourage to education.
One company which offers educational games is Matific, a mathematics game aimed at early learners which bagged USD12m. The app is free for schools to use, however it charges parents USD36 per year if they wish to use it at home. Another earlier mathematics learning game is LogicRoot which scored USD400,000. Memorado, a game designed to help users to improve their memories and UK brain training app Peak also received funding.
3. Language Learning
Before the days of the internet, the main ways to help someone learn a language were either to learn it in school, or to use a combination of books, dictionaries and speaking to someone from the country itself. Fortunately now, however, users are able to translate strings of sentences with online services or, with the help of apps, learn a language from scratch, often with an added level of gamification.
Duolingo, for example, raised USD45m for its language learning platform, giving it a USD470m valuation. The app is completely free to use and monetises its platform by offering crowdsourced translation services to third parties, which its users translate within the app. Other companies which received investment were Verbling, Babbel and Busuu, as well as Monkimun, which is aimed at children.
4. Marketplaces And Tutoring
Although there are many text-based learning platforms online, sometimes it takes an actual teacher to help make things clear. One example is US-based Udemy, which is an online learning marketplace, which offers a variety of courses to help users to hone professional skills. Udemy users pay a one-off fee which gives them access to all of the free courses on the website and the ability to pay for additional courses, the cost of which varies by the teacher, but are often priced between USD29 and USD99. Any Udemy user can add their own course within its platform and decide how much they wish to charge for it.
Other services which connect users with tutors and landed funding include Studypool, which is a Marketplace for users to find answers to questions, with tutors offer their services for a range of prices which the user then chooses from based on reviews. There’s also Third Space Learning which connects pupils with tutors in other parts of the world, where services are cheaper and they can work remotely, as well as Socratic, which offers a knowledge-sharing platform for school subjects.
5. Professional And Vocational Learning
Professional and vocational qualifications can often require very niche knowledge and skills sets so it can be difficult to source the necessary information required online. There are, however, a variety of platforms at the disposal of consumers and companies alike which allow them access to knowledge and skills coaching which they might not be able to find elsewhere. LinkedIn’s USD1.5bn acquisition of Lynda highlights just how lucrative this sector is perceived to be.
Grovo, online platform for businesses to help to train their staff through courses of short videos, landed USD15m recently. Claiming more than 5,000 videos on its platform the company includes Chevron and Arizona State University in its client base. UK-based BoardVitals, an exam preparation platform aimed at healthcare professionals looking to achieve additional qualifications also landed funding, along with professional qualifications platforms Simplilearn and Fullbridge.