Private equity companies were big players in the educational technology market in 2017 as they continued to be flush with cash in a generally good economy where interest rates remained low.
U.S. education businesses continued a trend of acquiring strategic add-ons, including data solutions and curriculum resources, to their product lines, but acquisitions in educational technology in 2017 also had more of an international flavor than in recent years. Meanwhile, blockbuster acquisitions or major consolidations pretty much receded into pre-2016 history.
News of acquisitions continued to break through the close of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
Silver Lake, a private equity firm specializing in technology investment, will acquire a majority stake in Weld North Education, which focuses on developing digital curriculum and tools for PreK-12. Silver Lake's investment is intended to help WNE accelerate long-term growth initiatives.
Jumpstart World, a subsidiary of NetDragon Websoft, acquired Sokikom, developer of an online collaborative math program in which elementary students help each other learn by playing a team-based game. Sokikom was founded in 2008 by Snehal Patel, who is leaving the company with the acquisition.
Founded in 1999, NetDragon Websoft was known early on as a provider of online games. In July 2017, NetDragon acquired JumpStart, provider of children’s educational games, including the popular Math Blaster.
The company also has been building an online and mobile education business, which includes elementary and secondary classroom software, social networks, cloud platforms and a tablet developed for students.
Illuminate Education, a provider of K-12 software and services developed with an educator perspective, in December acquired eduCLIMBER. The eduCLIMBER acquisition was made to expand the platform and give teachers access to eduCLIMBER’s data capabilities, which focus on both academic and behavioral data.
Scientific Learning in December signed a non-binding letter of intent with Brain Maps Technology to acquire the blended learning company that has more than 70 franchised English language learning centers across China.
BrainMaps, a partner of Scientific Learning for more than 10 years, combines Scientific Learning’s language learning technologies and an online to offline methodology to help students ages 5-12 achieve fluency in English.
Check out Simba Information's reports, Publishing for the PreK12-Market 2017-2018 and State of College Course Materials 2016-2017, for coverage of the instructional materials market and its leading publishers
And visit Electronic Electronic Education Report for further competitive business coverage of the school publishing market.