e-Learning and Innovative Pedagogies’s Updates

Silicon Valley Turns Its Eye to Education

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Lombroso

nytimes.com | Article Link | by Natasha Singer

The education technology business is chock-full of fledgling companies whose innovative ideas have not yet proved effective — or profitable. But that is not slowing investors, who are pouring money into ventures as diverse as free classroom-management apps for teachers and foreign language lessons for adult learners.

Venture and equity financing for ed tech companies soared to nearly $1.87 billion last year, up 55 percent from the year before, according to a new report from CB Insights, a venture capital database. The figures are the highest since CB Insights began covering the industry in 2009.

Notable financing deals include Pluralsight, a company that provides online training to technology professionals, which raised $135 million; Remind, a free messaging service for teachers to communicate with students and parents, which raised $40 million from venture capital firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; and Edmodo, an online social network customized for classroom use that is free to individual teachers, which raised $30 million.

“Education is one of the last industries to be touched by Internet technology, and we’re seeing a lot of catch-up going on,” said Betsy Corcoran, the chief executive of EdSurge, an industry news service and research company. “We’re starting to see more classical investors — the Kleiner Perkinses, the Andreessen Horowitzes, the Sequoias — pay more attention to the marketplace than before.”

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