EdTech Thoughts 10/17 - 10/23
The mentorship platform keeping Tim Horton's in business
Short one this week. EdTech Thoughts will also be off next week, as I am one of the lucky few adults who needs their tonsils removed and won’t be recovered in time to write Sunday.
Send positive vibes and smoothie recipes, on to the news!
Funding / M&A
Byju’s raises $250M: Sigh. I read this week that company narratives are like a clock. I want this to be another hour forward for Byju’s. I want the narrative to be “We got out over our skis last year, but we made the necessary cuts and raised enough funding to re-organize ourselves.”1 But its a little weird that this funding announcement came so close to, but not in coordination with, the layoff announcement and on the same day as another negative piece
Ten Thousand Coffees raises $56M: You all voted for 2022 as the year of the Apprenticeship, but I maintain that mentorship is not far behind. Joining Torch, Cloverleaf, Leland, PeopleGrove, GrowthSpace, and Mentor Collective, Toronto-based Ten Thousand Coffees facilitates mentorship connections and skill development for 200+ employers
TaTio raises $5.3M: Tel Aviv-based TaTio helps companies find “hidden workers” who have the right professional competencies to fill a given job, but are either passed over by traditional resume screens or don’t make it into the applicant pool at all
Ludenso raises $1M: Oslo-based Ludenso offers educational publishers a way to bring augmented reality functionality to their titles, with two Norwegian publishers already under contract. Adding wind to Ludenso’s sails are investments from Kahoot! founders Johan Brand and Jamie Brooker
Follett acquires Wilo Labs: Indianapolis-based Will Labs helps schools (primarily HED) manage the various course materials platforms in use across classes. Follett sells those very same platforms via on-campus and, increasingly, online university-branded bookstores - seems like a good match!
Literra acquires Tutor Matching Service and GoBoard: Gainesville-based Tutor Matching Service and GoBoard, developed by the same team, provide a tutor-matching service to college students and a virtual whiteboarding tool with collaboration and video conferencing built in. The two companies add a higher ed business line to Literra’s growing portfolio of tutoring-based products
YouScience acquires NC3T: the Maryland-based National Center for College and Career Transitions (NC3T) helps schools provide students with career pathways information. The NC3T team will be folded into YouScience’s career aptitude and readiness assessment platform
Jobs For the Future (JFF) announces new venture fund: JFF’s press release did not include how big this fund will be, but it is exciting to see an organization as plugged in to the workforce development world double down on funding venture opportunities. This fund continues the work started by JFF’s Employment Technology Fund.
One Interesting Job
Abilitie is a leadership development organization that uses online and in-person, team-based simulations to anchor management training programs for mid-level and senior leaders. Since 2015, the company has served 25K+ learners with 98% of participants agreeing that their program was valuable.
The Abilitie team cut their teeth building the leadership benches of Fortune 500 clients. They now want to translate that B2B success to the consumer world with the Invited MBA - a part-time, virtual 12-week mini-MBA.
Abilitie is looking for someone to accelerate the Invited MBA’s growth, starting with building a roster of strategic partners to drive enrollments to the program consistently over time.
Want a job featured here? I’m looking to highlight management and leadership positions at growth-stage companies - reply to this email for more details. Today’s feature is not paid, but this section may be sponsored in the future
Are OPMs friend or foe?: UPCEA released a new report this week designed to help universities make decisions regarding whether or not to work with an OPM. The report boils down to three predictable reasons a university would choose an OPM - speed, money, and marketing - and one less predictable reason - FOMO.2 The university leaders surveyed by UPCEA acknowledged that they did not want their institution to fall behind in online delivery and they perceived OPMs as the best mechanism for preventing that
11% increase in dual enrollment students at community colleges slows enrollment declines: while universities have been incapacitated by FOMO, community colleges are doing what they can to staunch the bleeding on the enrollment front. It’s always been a little funny to me that community colleges were the historical home to dual-enrolled students (high school students taking community college classes for both high school and college credit), as traditional universities spend more time working with the teenage demographic
Fullstack Academy signs Wake Forest: I was more than a little surprised to see an announcement on the continued growth of Fullstack’s university partner portfolio more than a month after Fullstack’s parent company, Zovio, publicly announced Fullstack was for sale amidst its (Zovio’s) imminent demise
Gates Foundation recalculates K12 strategy: The Gates foundation is shifting 100% of its K12 resources to math, up from 40% historically. The organization is proactively working with other funders to make sure humanities funding doesn’t suffer and that there is no “herd effect” towards math following their lead. Also of note, the announcement placed an emphasis on teacher training as part of the solution, not just technology. Hopefully this investment in training will have positive knock-on effects even outside of math
India’s K12 EdTech wasteland: A doom-and-gloom, but information-dense overview of the layoffs and business consolidation happening in India’s EdTech ecosystem.
Question of the Week
Let’s keep this one simple!
Results of last weeks poll:
Ed Tech Thoughts is a short ( ~ 5 mins), weekly overview of the top stories in EdTech, with a few (hopefully interesting) gut reactions attached. If you enjoyed this edition, I hope you will subscribe and/or forward to your friends!
If I missed something, or there is a topic you’d like to learn more about, I encourage you to submit a story! Submissions can be named or anonymous
A “we hired [legendary businessperson X] as COO” piece would be icing on the cake for this narrative
The report calls it peer pressure, but I’m trying to keep my readers hip