Learning to Adapt: EdTech in a Fast Changing Environment
The EdTech industry has gained momentum throughout 2020 as COVID-19 has pushed
education to the forefront of many peoples’ minds. As families and individuals seek new ways
to learn and adapt to a changing and complex environment, strategic and financial investors
alike are actively looking to capitalize on the new found interest in the sector. This has resulted
in several large acquisitions and capital raises this year, setting the foundation for substantial
growth in EdTech going forward.
In mid-November, K12 announced the acquisition of Tech Elevator for $23.5 million. Tech
Elevator specializes in coding bootcamps and training. This complements K12’s acquisition of
coding school Galvanize for $165 million earlier in the year. K12 also announced in November
the acquisition of MedCerts, a provider of online training services in the healthcare and IT
industry, for $70 million. It’s clear from these acquisitions that K12 is shifting its focus from
early education to all forms of education. This change in the company’s focus will be
highlighted in K12’s upcoming name change to Stride, Inc.
In early November, Udacity raised $75 million through a debt facility agreement with Hercules
Capital. Udacity is well known for their online courses and educational offerings. While a large
part of Udacity’s business comes from individuals, corporations are utilizing online learning
platforms more and more as the business environment continues to change. Udacity said that
Q3 bookings for business customers were up by 120% year-over-year and average run rates up
260% in H1 2020. This deal precedes competitor Udemy’s announcement of a Series F capital
raise of $50-100 million by just 2 weeks.
Also in early November, J2 Global acquired Inspired eLearning for an undisclosed amount.
Inspired eLearning is a developer of web-based security awareness and compliance training
courses for corporate, government and non-profit customers. The transaction is expected to
bolster J2 Global’s presence in the cybersecurity and EdTech industry and help them to capture
new market share across two fast growing sectors.
In mid-October, Skillsoft agreed to join forces with SPAC Churchill Capital in a $1.3 billion
reverse merger. Skillsoft is a developer of learning management systems and software and is a
pioneer in the field of technology-delivered learning. As part of the merger, the combined
entity will acquire IT and professional training platform, Global Knowledge Training, for $233
million. The two deals are expected to close in January and will allow the newly formed
company to quickly expand its market share in the learning and educational software sector.