Pitchbook Lists Most Valuable Ed Tech Companies

Update: Jeez – sorry about the multiple typos (mistakenly showed in thousands instead of millions). Fixed now.

Pitchbook – a database service for M&A, private equity and venture capital – listed in Hot Topics what they saw as the top ten most valuable ed tech companies based on public valuations[1]. The definition of startup is a little loose, as one company (D2L) was founded in 1999 and public companies are excluded.

Below are the market valuation estimates, to which I have added the year each company was founded along with the total funding by each company in parentheses, according to Crunchbase data.

Company (year founded, funding total)  Market Valuation

  1. Pluralsight (2004, $169m)            $1.0 billion
  2. Instructure (2008, $79m)               $554 million
  3. Lynda.com (1995, $289m)             $456 million
  4. Coursera (2012, $85m)                   $367 million
  5. Open English (2006, $120m)        $350 million
  6. Craftsy (2010, $106m)                   $339 million
  7. D2L (1999, $165m)                        $330 million
  8. Lumos Labs (2005, $68m)           $265 million
  9. Clever (2012, $44m)                      $247 million
  10. Edmodo (2008, $88m)                 $236 million

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  1. Note that estimates are as of the end of 2014. []
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ASU, edX and The Black Knight: MOOCs are not dead yet

In 2012 I wrote a post during the emergence of MOOC mania, pointing out some barriers that must be overcome for the new model to survive.

So what are the barriers that must be overcome for the MOOC concept (in future generations) to become self-sustaining? To me the most obvious barriers are:

  • Developing revenue models to make the concept self-sustaining;
  • Delivering valuable signifiers of completion such as credentials, badges or acceptance into accredited programs;
  • Providing an experience and perceived value that enables higher course completion rates (most today have less than 10% of registered students actually completing the course); and
  • Authenticating students in a manner to satisfy accrediting institutions or hiring companies that the student identify is actually known.

Fig 3 EvolutionCombine20120927

Since that time, of course, the MOOC hype has faded away, partially based on the above barriers not being overcome.

Today, Arizona State University (ASU) and edX announced a new program, Global Freshman Academy, that takes direct aim at all four barriers and could be the most significant MOOC program yet. From the New York Times story: Continue reading

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Cisco’s Collaborative Knowledge: Further blurring of higher ed & professional dev lines

Cisco, which at one time was the most valuable in the world, made an announcement that apparently got no one’s attention (outside of the venerable e-Literate). Cisco[1] released a new product, Collaborative Knowledge (CK), that is designed to allow companies to access real-time expertise and enable collaborative work based on employees’ expertise, or in another word, competencies. From the press release (because I cannot find an independent news article to reference):

To be positioned for growth, performance and productivity, organizations must transform into digital workplaces where knowledge sharing, learning and talent innovation are able to occur in real-time, anytime, anywhere.

Cisco Collaborative Knowledge integrates best-in-class consumer and business technologies to enable capabilities such as highly secure knowledge sharing, expert identification, continuous learning, social networking and analytics into one complete and end-to-end enterprise knowledge exchange. With Cisco Collaborative Knowledge, workers are able to benefit from these continuous learning features, helping organizations innovate and solve real-world business challenges.

Beyond the Buzzwords, What Is It?

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  1. Disclosure: Cisco, through a different division, is a client of MindWires Consulting. []
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2U Learning Platform Update: Removal of Moodle, addition of accessibility options

2U has now been a public company for over a year, and that had what is easily the most successful education IPO in recent history. Shares have almost doubled from $13.00 at IPO to $25.50 last week. At the same time, there is a swirl of news around their new partner Yale and the Physician Assistant’s program – first the announcement of program from one of the elite of elite schools, second the news that accreditation approval for the new program is not going to be as easy as hoped.

While both aspects are newsworthy, I’d like to dive deeper into their infrastructure and learning platforms. The company is far from complacent, as they continue to make significant changes. Continue reading

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Interesting Comment on Pearson’s LMS Plans From Customer

On April 1, long-time eCollege (aka Pearson’s LearningStudio) customer Texas Christian University (TCU) gave an update on their LMS selection process to the student newspaper TCU360. In this article there was an interesting statement[1] worth exploring [emphasis added].

“eCollege” will soon be a thing of the past.

TCU has narrowed its search for a Learning Management System to two platforms, Blackboard and Desire2Learn (D2L).

“We’ve had feedback, from faculty specifically, that it’s time for change,” Assistant Provost of Educational Technology and Faculty Development Romy Hughes said.

TCU has used Pearson’s Learning Studio system since 1999.

“Pearson is out of the learning management system game,” Hughes said. “We need something to evolve with the Academy of Tomorrow and where we’re moving to at TCU.”

That last comment got my attention. Continue reading

  1. Statement from the original article before it was updated. []
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