Education is an investment in human capital that is essential in the new knowledge economy. Companies and governments around the world are searching for ways to enhance education.
The bold idea of ‘Educational Technology’ or Ed Tech is nothing new. The industry has been through some rough times since its inception, but with the current crisis in American education, there is renewed interest and investment. Ed Tech startups are everywhere, with new and innovative ideas about how to improve public education and minimize cost.
…they are learning about opportunities in digital technology and applying their expertise to the way that people learn.
One success story in the Ed Tech industry is Pearson. This is one of the leading learning companies, having introduced its first Ed Tech accelerator program in February 2013.
The Telegraph from the UK mentioned that Pearson’s program links startups with business leaders and experts. The company gives instructions and mentoring to their clients throughout the program in order to develop best practices and improve educational outcomes.
Diana Stepner, the Head of Future Technologies at Pearson, says “The start-ups who are making changes in the industry are capitalizing on experience. A lot were students who are now applying their experience to a broader audience. The same applies to teachers; more than simply being consumers, they are learning about opportunities in digital technology and applying their expertise to the way that people learn.”
Ed Tech Categories
Many companies are now venturing into the idea of Ed Tech. Following are some of the major categories of programs Ed Tech offers:
- Broad Online Learning – This category is for companies that focus on subjects like math, science, photography and music.
- Learning Management Systems – These companies offer software platforms, that enhance the relationship between students, teachers, and parents. It also monitors the progress of the student, tracks assignments, shares content, and offers online discussion boards.
- Career Development – Many Ed Tech companies provide people and enterprises with educational content for professional advancements, such as financial training.
- Early Childhood Education – This is a huge group of companies that make educational toys and games for little children that can be used at the preschool or in the home.
- Language Learning – Language programs are huge, and run the gamut from in-school programs to self-teaching for children and adults of every age.
- Tech Learning – This may be one of the biggest categories for adults, with a huge number of private colleges and vocational programs that teach subjects like programming as well as updates in areas like security for professional development in the tech sector.
- Study Tools – These have become something of a trend, with many high schools, colleges, and vocational schools offering courses that prepare their students and customers to succeed with their educational programs. The theory is that “learning how to learn” is important for everyone.
- Course Materials – Many people outside the Ed Tech industry, don’t realize how important, or how large the revenues are, for those companies that provide classroom materials. Everything from Textbooks, to testing materials, adds up to a good-sized chunk of the educational pie.
- School Administration – It takes materials to run and administer schools, and you bet, there are companies that fill that need, from proctored exam services to digitized transcripts.
- Next-Gen School – These are the innovators who are looking for completely new educational systems, like schools that teach through games or other non-traditional systems.
- Learning Analytics – Big data is king, and with something as large and unwieldy as the worldwide education systems, this is a growth category that is only going to get bigger every year.
- Test Prep – Parents love them, students not so much. Test prep companies prepare students for the standardized tests and entrance examinations that students face, including tests like the GRE, GMAT, and SAT; as well as professional tests like the CPA, Series 7, and the Bar.
- Classroom Engagement – A lot of focus is being directed toward classroom engagement and products and systems that can help with this all important area of teaching.
- Online to Offline – This may sound backward, after all, what is the purpose of an online education in the first place, if you need a face-to-face mentor or tutor to help you through. The truth is, having someone there for personal face-time dramatically enhances the online educational experience. This category is for companies that offer platforms for students in order to have face-to-face offline tutoring.
Ed Tech Startup Companies
With the continuous rise of Ed Tech startups, we have compiled a list of some of the top Ed Tech Startup Companies. Following are some that have attracted the most attention;
- EverFi – Provides extensive skills in STEM, financial literacy, workplace harassment training, and diversity training. Tom Davidson is the Co-Founder and CEO of EverFi. The company is located in the United States. Evan Williams, Eric Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Silicon Valley Bank, and New Enterprise Associates are among its investors. The company has funding of $251 million. It is in the Broad Online Learning category.
- Pluralsight – provides video training courses for creative professionals, IT administrators, and software developers. Aaron Skonnard is the CEO of Pluralsight. It is located in Utah, United States. ICONIQ Capital, Rethink Education, and Insight Venture Partners is the primary investors. It has funding of $238.67 million. Pluralsight is in the Career Development category.
- Top Hat – helps professors energize college classrooms. It renews established teaching methods and organizes new approaches. Mike Silagadze is the CEO of Top Hat. The company is located in Toronto. Union Square Ventures, Golden Angels Network, Felicis Ventures, and DeVry Education Group are all investors. It has funding of $49.99 million. It is in the Classroom Engagement category.
- Flat World Education – is an online platform that gives institutions and instructors the chance to personalize their educational content. Jade Roth is the CEO of Flat World Education. Primary Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Tribeca Venture Partners are the primary investors in the company. It has funding of $43.5 million. It is in the Course Materials category.
- NeoBear – markets augmented reality mobile apps and toys that help children to learn languages and words. Jian Ming Xiong is the CEO of NeoBear. New Horizon Capital, GGV Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, and Haitong Kaiyuan are the investors in the company. The company has funding of $56 million. It is in the Early Childhood Education category.
- iTutorGroup – is the biggest English-language learning company in the world. It offers personalized and individualized learning experiences. The company is located in Shanghai. Dr. Eric Yang is the CEO of the company. Goldman Sachs, Alibaba Group, Russia-China Investment Fund, and Qiming Venture Partners are investors. It has funding of $315 million. iTutorGroup is in the Language Learning category.
- Echo360 – develops active education technology. It is located in Dulles Virginia. Fred Singer is the CEO of Echo360. Court Square Ventures, Anthem Capital, and Softbank Capital are investors. It has funding of $91.82 million. The company is in the Learning Analytics category.
- Knewton – focuses on adaptive learning. Knewton created a platform to personalize educational content. The company is located in New York. Ryan Prich is the CEO of Knewton. First Round Capital, GSV Capital, and Accel Partners are just some of its investors. It has funding of $157.25 million. Knewton is in the Learning Management System category.
- AltSchool – is an educational startup founded in 2004. The company is made up of educators, entrepreneurs, and technologies which have developed a network of schools to prepare students. It is located in San Francisco. Max Ventilla is the CEO of AltSchool. First Round Capital, Learn Capital, and Mark Zuckerberg are the investors. AltSchool has funding of $176 million. It is in the Next-Gen School category.
- Entstudy – is an after-school tutoring platform in China. Zhang Hao is the CEO of Entstudy. Tencent Holdings, Kun Ling Capital, and Sharing Capital are its investors. The company has funding of $62.21 million. It is in the Online to Offline category.
- Parchment – lets employers, educators, and learners, request, share and verify credentials using an advanced academic management system. The company is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Matthew Pittinsky is the CEO of Parchment. Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Salmon River Capital are just some of its investors. The company has funding of $71.55 million. It is in the School Administration category.
- Xuebajun – helps high school and junior high school students master their classwork through a system of personalized monitoring and reporting. Yuan Pu is the CEO of the company. Sinovation Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners, and Vertex Ventures China are the investors of Xuebajun. It has funding of $155 million. The company is in the Study Tool category.
- Galvanize – helps entrepreneurs and students access the knowledge and skills they need in order to level up and create an impact. Jim Deters is the CEO of Galvanize. University Ventures, New York State Regional Economic Development Councils, and IBM are all investors. It has funding of $87.11 million. Galvanize is in the Tech Learning category.
- Xiaozhan Jiaoyu – offers training courses for students preparing for entrance exams. It is located in Shanghai. Hanchen Chen is the CEO of the company. Sequoia Capital China, GGV Capital, and Shunwei Capital Partners are its investors. Xiaozhan Jiaoyu has funding of $113 million. It is in the Test Prep category.
Other Ed Tech Companies to Watch by Category Are:
- Broad Online Learning – HotChalk, Yuanfudao, Coursera, Udemy, BYJU’s, Udacity, Xingshuai Teach, MasterClass, creativeLIVE, Genshuixue, Brainly, Skillshare, Coorpacademy, and Descomplica
- Career Development – General Assembly, Grovo Learning, Fullbridge, Simplilearn Solutions, Axonify, OpenSesame, BloomBoard, and EduPristine
- Classroom Engagement – Nearpod
- Course Materials – LightSail Education, Newsela, BetterLesson, and XanEdu Publishing
- Early Childhood Education – DreamBox Learning, Knowledge Holdings, Osmo, Speakaboos, Fingerprint Digital, Kidaptive, GoNoodle, TinyBop, and Kaishu Jianggushi
- Language Learning – Vipkid, Duolingo, Babbel, Voxy, ABA English, ABC360, Ellevation Education, and Busuu Online
- Learning Analytics – Civitas Leanring, BrightBytes, Acrobatiq, and Panorama Education
- Learning Management System – 17zuoye, Schoology, Everspring, Huivo, Degreed, MasteryConnect, ClassDojo, Smart Sparrow, Knowledge Factor, EdCast, and FreshGrade
- Next-Gen School – Quad Learning, Bridge International Academies, CueLearn, and KnowRe
- Online to Offline – Varsity Tutors
- School Administration – LearnZillion, Examity, Certica Solutions, and Brightwheel
- Study Tool – Grammarly, Knowbox, StudyBlue, Kahoot!, and Quizlet
- Tech Learning – littleBits, Codecademy, Edgemakers, CodeFights, Treehouse Island, and Tynker
- Test Prep – Revolution Prep and Toppr
The number of Ed Tech startup companies shows that the quality of education is on its way up.