According to market research firm Ambient Insight, global private investments in ed tech companies reached $6.54 billion in 2015, up dramatically from the previous record of $2.42 billion in 2014. Investment in ed tech companies is expected to rise again in 2016. As K-12 schools and colleges continue to investment in more technology to build the Smart Schools of the future, it’s important that ed tech decision-makers–both on the tech and administrative sides–know who key investors are.
Here’s a breakdown on some of the top ed tech investment groups.
- New Schools Venture Fund–New Schools Venture Fund is a little different from most investors on this list. It’s a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that uses charitable donations to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education. Since its founding in 1998, New Schools Venture Fund has invested $250 million in more than 150 education ventures. Key investments include: BirdBrain Science, an adaptive science platform; Flocabulary, a producer of hip-hop videos, activities, and assessments used to engage students and supplement instruction; and LearnZillion, an open, cloud-based curriculum.
- 500 Startups–Like its name suggests, 500 Startups is focused on investing in early-stage companies. Unlike New Schools Venture Fund, 500 Startups invests in almost every industry, but is heavily invested in the education field. 500 Startups does traditional investing, as well as a four-month accelerator program, which includes mentorship, office space, and capital, in exchange for 5 percent equity in the company. Key investments include: Junior Explorers, a subscription service that teaches kids about wildlife and nature in a fun and engaging way, and Monkimun, a game designed to help preschoolers develop language skills.
- Learn Capital–Learn Capital is a venture capital firm focused on funding entrepreneurs with a vision for better and smarter learning. Key investments include: MasteryConnect, a platform to connect Common Core assessments of student progress with classroom practice; LearnZillion; ClassDojo, real-time classroom behavior management tools; eduClipper, a content sharing and curation service designed specifically for K-12 students and teachers; and NoRedInk, a teacher-created writing app.
- Kapor Capital–Kapor Capital invests across a wide variety of industries, but focuses on investing in tech-driven seed stage companies committed to closing gaps of access, opportunity or outcome for low-income communities, and/or communities of color in the United States. Key investments include: CodeHS, a program to teach computer science to beginners with a focus on working with high schools; Classkick, a tablet workspace where students do teacher-made assignments and get immediate help from their instructor and classmates; ClassDojo; NoRedInk; and Inkling, an end-to-end platform for mobile learning content.
- RethinkEducation–RethinkEducation invests exclusively in education-related companies. It seeks to invest in progressive growth-stage companies that are at the forefront of the education technology industry. Key investments include: Flocabulary; StraighterLine, which offers affordable, self-paced introductory-level college courses through a Web-based delivery platform; Rethink, which offers teaching tools to teachers, parents, and administrators handling children on the autism spectrum; and NoRedInk.