Venture Capital: Owl Ventures Raises $585M For Investments in Global Edtech
Owl Ventures is the largest venture capital firm in the world that focuses on education technology (edtech).
Owl Ventures, the venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, announced Tuesday the close of two funds raising an aggregate of $585 million. The firm’s fourth fund raised $415 million, while its first Opportunity Fund collected $170 million. The new funds will add further muscle to the firm’s already expansive portfolio. Its global edtech investments span China, Europe, India and the U.S. (EdSurge)
In India, for example, BYJU’s, the most valuable privately held edtech company in the world, acquired 18-month-old start-up WhiteHat Jr for $300 million. Owl Ventures was the only fund that was an investor in both companies.
According to Amit Patel, Managing Director at Owl Ventures, the deal shows how the edtech market in India, and globally, is rapidly growing and maturing.
Rapid growth in edtech investing
Founded in 2014, Owl raised $100 million, $185 million, and $315 million in the years 2015, 2017, and 2019 respectively.
In the current financing, the funds earmarked to the Opportunity Fund will go to follow-up investments in the Owl’s current portfolio.
However, Owl Ventures IV will invest in new education startups.
COVID-19 a watershed moment in edtech
“Since we began the firm, we have seen the digital revolution rapidly unfold in education and workforce development,” said Tory Patterson, Managing Director at Owl Ventures in a statement. “Due to the shift to remote learning and work, we find ourselves in a watershed moment for the over $6 trillion education and training market as the rising digital penetration in the sector that had already been taking place has surged.”
“Inbound inquiries, user growth/engagement, and customer pipelines have dramatically spiked across our portfolio with our platforms being leveraged globally,” added Ian Chiu, Managing Director.
Education market changes fundamentally
Speaking to EdSurge, Owl’s Patterson said that the education market is pivoting towards becoming a direct-to-consumer business.
One implication of this is that parents, especially of younger children, are getting a first hand and close look at what their kids are doing. They may not approve the quality or scope of the education or the curriculum.
“They’re going to poke around and see what kinds of low-cost, effective, and scalable solutions are out there.”
Another new market is rapidly growing – that of workforce development. The very same parents may also be looking for education to stay relevant, employable, and in control of their careers after the economic impact of the virus pandemic.
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