Edtech startups have seen $13.8 billion globally in investments throughout 2021, according to PitchBook data. The investment is already higher than the $13.7 billion funneled into edtech in all of 2020. This capital has also helped 14 new edtech companies achieve unicorn status, representing nearly half of 35 edtech unicorns.
The growing and maturing edtech industry encompasses technology that facilitates learning for kids and adults. The edtech industry is a diverse and rapidly growing market that is getting significant attention from industry veterans as well as generalist investors.
Edtech IPO surge
One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was the shift toward virtual learning. Increased adoption of online learning platforms led investors to realize that online learning will continue even as schools reopen and students return to the classroom.
Public market investors can see the long-term value in mission-driven, technology-powered education tools. These companies saw growth and evolution during the shift to remote learning and they will continue to evolve with the changing educational experience.
Edtech mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships
On September 13, 2021, Anthology and Blackboard announced they will merge by the end of 2021. This mega company will serve more than 150 million users spread over 4,000 campuses in 90+ countries.
On October 26, 2021, Ellucianannounced its expanded partnership with D2L. The organizations will extend their existing partnership, making it easier for colleges and universities to integrate their learning management system (LMS) and ERP or student information systems (SIS).
We are also seeing an expanded focus on virtual and in-person learning, otherwise known as blended or hybrid learning, through the new partnership betweenNetDragon and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Ghana. This new relationship will develop a country-wide LMS and ensure inclusive and equitable education for all people in Ghana.
Just in G2’s Learning Management Systems category alone, we have seen shifts in category traffic showing steady interest early in the year, dropping as we got comfortable with blended learning, and then increasing again at the start of the school year in August 2021. This shows that even as schools reopen, these virtual tools will continue to be used within the education industry.
Companies that are adopting these tools understand the importance of providing access to quality education resources.
In G2’s Fall 2021 reports, reviewers gave learning management system products an average score of 83% for ease of setup and a score of 86% for ease of use. And overall, products in the Learning Management Systems category had a “likelihood to recommend” score of 86% on average, suggesting that users are finding value in these systems but there is room for improvement.
The recent increase of education-related mergers and acquisitions, funding activity, and IPOs combined with the technology's demonstrated value, reveal a space primed for growth through the remaining months of 2021 and beyond.
Rachael is a research analyst at G2 with a focus on healthcare and education. Prior to joining G2, she has worked as an academic librarian and in research and business development at law firms, accounting firms, and nonprofit organizations. She has a BA and MA in English and Creative Writing and an MS in Library & Information Science. Outside of G2, Rachael is a career coach, yoga and meditation teacher, and jewelry maker.