A Look at Ed Tech’s Biggest Money Magnets (Chronicle)

November 12, 2014

By Rebecca Koenig

Investment in higher-education technology is booming. Venture-capital funding for individual companies trying to break into the market has climbed well past the million-dollar mark, and the growth shows no sign of slowing.

According to Peter Yoon, a managing director at the Berkery Noyes investment bank who specializes in the education and training sector, ed-tech investment has increased steeply since 2006. More than $1-billion was invested in ed-tech companies in 2013, he said, and in the first quarter of this year more than $50-million was invested.

“It’s quite a brisk pace in terms of the amount of investment,” Mr. Yoon said. “Compared to previous years, it’s a tremendous increase.”

Several arenas are attracting these well-funded players. Some companies provide services to colleges, while others seek to circumvent traditional institutions and provide education straight to students—or, as perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, consumers.

The Chronicle has created a list of the 10 best-funded higher-education-tech companies to date, according to Tyler McNally, director of growth at EdSurge, an education-technology reporting website.

To put all that capital in context, we’ve provided monetary frames of reference from other realms of the higher-education world. And we’ve asked Michael B. Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation and executive director of its education program, to weigh in on just how “disruptive” each company might really be to traditional colleges and service providers.

1. Chegg

2. D2L

3. Pluralsight

4. Knewton

5. 2U

6. Minerva

7. Rafter

8. Coursera

9. Echo360

10. Udacity

 

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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