Global Edtech Investment Surges to a Record $9.5 Billion in 2017

Globally, over $37.8 billion has been invested in educational technology companies between 1997 and 2017 and a striking 62% of that was invested in just the last three years between 2015 and 2017.

SEATTLE, Wash., Jan. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The investments made to learning technology companies in 2017 were the highest in the history of the learning technology industry. In 2017, global investments made to learning technology companies reached over $9.52 billion, up a massive 30% from the previous record set in 2016 ($7.33 billion) and up over 46% from the $6.54 billion (a record at the time) reached in 2015. There were 813 edtech companies funded in 2017, the highest since the record of 728 set in 2015.

"This is a remarkable three-year pattern," reports Metaari's Chief Researcher, Sam S. Adkins. "Over $23.4 billion has been invested in learning technology companies in the last three years. This is unprecedented in the industry."

Metaari publishes their annual whitepaper in January every year. The new free whitepaper is called "The 2017 Global Learning Technology Investment Patterns" and was published on January 8, 2018.

"We have monitored the learning technology markets and investment trends in 122 countries since 1997," comments Adkins. "We view investments as leading indicators. Over $37.8 billion has been invested in educational technology companies between 1997 and 2017 and a striking 62% of that was invested in just the last three years between 2015 and 2017."

Consumer-facing and corporate-facing companies have dominated the funding since 2013. In 2017, consumer-facing companies garnered the highest investments at $3.85 billionfollowed by corporate-facing companies at $3.79 billion. This is the first time consumer-facing learning technology companies raised more than corporate-facing companies.

There is a substantial amount of capital flowing to the companies serving the two academic markets, but the investments are dwarfed by the massive amounts being poured into consumer-facing and corporate-facing companies. In 2017, just 13% of total global investment went to PreK-12 companies and only 8% went to higher education companies.

"The most significant change in the investment patterns in the learning technology industry in 2017 was a sharp spike in investments made to next-generation learning companies, particularly companies offering products based on artificial intelligence (AI), and Mixed Reality (augmented reality and virtual reality)," says Adkins. "Capital is also flowing to new companies that develop educational robots for children. The industry is in a period of profound innovation and transformation."

Over $1.7 billion was invested in 124 AI-based Learning companies in 2017. The majority of the firms were corporate-facing companies, but there were seven investments made to PreK-12 suppliers. There were no investments made to this type of company prior to 2015 because commercial products did not exist yet. This is an entirely new type of learning product.

There was a decline in investment in specific countries and regions. There was a drop in the number of deals made to educational technology companies in India in 2017. In 2017, $397.6 million was invested in 83 learning technology companies in India. This is down from the $564.2 million invested in 105 companies in India in 2016.

Funding was down sharply in Latin America with only $61.4 million invested in just nine learning technology companies in 2017. Six of these companies were in Brazil accounting for $57.1 million of this funding (down from $86.9 million in Brazil in 2016). Investment in edtech companies in Brazil has been declining due in large part to the severe economic downturn in the economy, which is only now starting to recover.

In contrast, investment activity is quite robust in the UK, the four countries in the Nordic Cluster, Israel, and Canada. In 2017, 48 companies in the UK raised a combined total of $290.1 million and 54 companies in the Nordic Cluster garnered a combined total of $240.9 million. In 2017, 16 educational technology companies in Israel obtained a combined total of $227.4 million and 13 of the companies were startups. In Canada, 18 companies raised $109.0 million in combined funding including the $59 million invested in the LMS company Absorb in September 2017.

Edtech startups in Africa are now attracting funding, particularly in the startup hubs in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. In 2017, 17 learning technology companies across Africa garnered investments, the highest total number of deals made on the continent so far.

"One consistent trend is the massive amount of funding going to educational technology companies in China." comments Adkins. "Over $1.77 billion was invested in 67 learning technology companies in China in 2017. As impressive as this is, it is down from the $2.19 billion reached in 2015 and the $2.06 billion reached in 2016."

The highest investment in China in 2017 went to the popular consumer-facing online tutoring company VIPKID, which raised an astonishing $200 million in August 2017 on top of the $100 million they raised in 2016. The PreK-12 company called Gaosi Education raised $198.8 million in three tranches in 2017.

Yet, the US still accounts for the majority of investments. "There is a myth that edtech investments in China are outpacing investments in the US. This is not even close to happening any time soon," adds Adkins. "Over 58% of all learning technology funding in 2017 went to US companies, more than three times the investment that went to companies in China."

About Metaari

Metaari (formerly Ambient Insight) is an ethics-based quantitative market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for advanced learning technology suppliers. We track the learning technology markets in 122 countries. We have the most complete view of the international learning technology market in the industry. Metaari focusses solely on advanced learning technology research on products that utilize psychometrics, neuroscience, game mechanics, robotics, cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality.

Media Contact: Sam Adkins, Metaari, 360-805-4298,


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