Startups Disrupting Education with New Technologies


CB Insights:

Venture capital funding to education technology startups passed $1.6B last year, across 217 deals. With ed tech startup investing becoming so competitive and crowded, it’s important to know where top VCs are placing their bets…

Accel Partners, Felicis Ventures, and New Enterprise Associates are the most active smart VCs in ed tech, with more than 10 unique portfolio companies each in the area. The least active investors are Index Ventures and Battery Ventures. Two startups had the most unique smart VC investors, with 5 each: classroom-based community tool Edmodo and online learning content platform Knewton.

We identified six different ed tech markets that smart VCs are moving into.

  • Online language learning: Companies providing online and mobile software to learn foreign languages or English as a second language. Firms in this category that have received smart money VC deals include Mindsnacks, Duolingo, and Open English
  • Teacher-student collaboration & communication: These companies connect students and teachers through online and mobile software to share content, manage assignments, and communicate both in and out of the classroom. Firms that have received smart money investments include Piazza, Instructure, Remind, and Edmodo.
  • Education data and analytics: Companies providing data analytics software and solutions in and around the education industry and student performance. This category encompasses a few firms that have received smart money funding, including Civitas Learning and Declara.
  • Coding and programming education: Companies offering digital offerings aimed at coding, programming, or engineering skills and techniques. Companies with smart money VC backing include Codecademy, One Month, and Bloc.
  • MOOCs & online classrooms – Companies offering free or accredited online courses or tutorials in assorted subject areas. Two companies in this area with smart money VC funding are Udemy and Coursera.
  • Tutoring and Test Prep: Companies offering tutors, textbooks, notes, or study materials for specific standardized tests. Smart money VC companies include WyZantand Desire2Learn.