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The X Report

Machine Learning Comic

The X Report is here to provide you with a bite-sized summary of what is happening in the world of learning and training. Each month we will provide a snapshot on the key trends, showcase some of the stars of today and tomorrow, provide a little food for thought and finally a market round-up of what’s been going on around the world. Each report will bring you details on the following topics:

XPurple100Now and Next

The key trends impacting education and training today.

XRed100-02Global All Stars

Learn how innovators of today are shaping the EdTech of tomorrow.

XGold100px-03Market Roundup

A global snapshot of the EdTech market

X100Teal-04Valuation Benchmarks

Global trends and innovation across the sector

X100Greenpx-05M&A Highlights

Summary on mergers, acquisitions and fundraising





The key trends impacting education and training today.

The Wealth of Nations
How learning and technology will impact the future economic ranking of nations
The future wealth of nations lies in the potential of its citizens. National prosperity is created not inherited.  Natural endowments such as great reserves of oil and gas may be helpful but over the long term the competitive advantages of nations lies with the effectiveness of its people.
Differences in culture, values and economic and social structures all contribute to the growth of a nation. However at the heart of the economic engine lies the knowledge, creativity, inventiveness, productivity and drive of humankind.
There are famous examples such as the rise of Singapore.  When Singapore became independent in 1965 it was a small tropical island with few natural resources.  At the time there was no compulsory education and only a small number of schools.  Today the country has risen from undeveloped economy to a world economic and educational leader.  Throughout its accelerated development, the shift to a skills-intensive labour force has been core.  But not just skills, also a thirst for creativity and invention.
Today, our investment in knowledge and creativity is more important than at any other time in human history.  We stand on the brink of massive change.  

We all know that the use of technology and AI will become widespread and in a digital and mobile world it will reach every corner of the globe and touch every aspect of our lives .  Technology itself will become a commodity that will seek to replace the mundane aspects of our working and domestic lives.  The differentiating factor that is left, is the human factor and our ability to deploy learning, empathy and creativity; we have to learn to be human again.

Without a long term vision on how to create the right environment for 21st century learning, nations will gradually fade from the international leagues of competiveness.  Natural resources or old world industry and technology will not save them.  It is not the instruments of capital that will create wealth for future generation but the inventiveness of its custodians.  Without learning we are nothing; learning is our new technology.




 Learn how innovators of today are shaping the EdTech of tomorrow.

FutureLearn announces £50m investment from SEEK

FutureLearn has recently announced a £50m investment from SEEK, the international online job seekers platform. This investment is the largest to date in European EdTech and marks a key development for EdTech investment in Europe, which lags a considerable way behind the US and China. FutureLearn’s purpose is to transform access to education and with this new investment we can expect a significant acceleration of its presence on the world’s education stage.Robot pointing Currently, FutureLearn has over nine million learners worldwide and partners with over a quarter of the world’stop universities, as well as organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (NHS). FutureLearn was formed in December 2012 by The Open University (OU) and has worked closely over the years with its founding shareholder to grow a successful business with a global footprint and viable commercial model. The partnership between the OU and SEEK will be interesting as it will allow FutureLearn to tackle some of the increasing skill gaps in the global workplace by combining the academic heritage of the OU with SEEK’s knowledge of the jobs market. Watch this space…
Note: IBIS Capital was the financial advisor to the Open University





A global snapshot of the EdTech market

Pre K12 & K12

RoundupIcons40pxSTEMEarly STEM Provides 'Critical Foundation' for Future Learning

The Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) calls for focus on STEM experiences at pre K12 level.
[2 min read - THE Journal] 

RoundupIcons40pxTechGoogle releases Bolo, a speech recognition app that helps Indian kids learn to read

Google’s new offering is targeting India’s literacy gap [3 min read - VentureBeat]

RoundupIcons40pxRegChina’s draft regulation on K-9 schools and policy on kindergarten fundraising may significantly restrict the expansion of the country’s education sector [8 min read - Pie News ]

RoundupIcons40pxEmergingTanzanian edutainment company Ubongo wins Next Billion Edtech Prize

A company using innovative technology to address Africa’s reading crisis [2 min read - Education Technology]

RoundupIcons40pxCoinBYJU’s, the EdTech unicorn based in India, is looking to acquire 4 to 5 US-based EdTech companies as part of its global expansion goal. Read about its first US acquisition, Osmo, or the Company’s larger strategy [4 min read - ET Tech]

RoundupIcons40pxCyberA report on The State of K12 Cybersecurity in the US is prompting debates about the various safeguards available. Read about one such debate at the SXSW EDU conference [8 min read - EdSurge]

Higher Education

RoundupIcons40pxTechHow the integration of new technology is changing the higher education landscape

EdTech is transforming the learning experience for students and teachers [6 min read - Study International]

RoundupIcons40pxEmergingUniversities worldwide are facing stiff competition from China. Find out more about the potential implications for universities in Australia and the US [7 min read - The Sydney Morning Herald]

RoundupIcons40pxRegA no-deal Brexit seriously threatens UK universities

University leaders issue a warning to MPs [3 min read - The Guardian]

RoundupIcons40pxCoinEurope lags behind China and United States on EdTech investment

BrightEye Ventures’ latest findings on global EdTech investment
[3 min read - Elearning Inside]

RoundupIcons40pxRegTrump administration to unravel HE quality safeguards

Trump’s proposed changes to the US higher education accreditation process are raising concerns [4 min read - University World News]

RoundupIcons40pxSTEMCoding Bootcamps Eye Universities to Extend Their Reach

Leading coding bootcamps are partnering with universities to offer students in-demand tech skills training [4 min read - EdSurge]

RoundupIcons40pxCoinMinsheng sets up M&A fund with CICC as China tightens control on private education sector

Minsheng Education aims to raise $1.5bn to invest in the higher education segment [3 min read - SCMP]

Corporate Training, Lifelong Learning
& The Future of Work

RoundupIcons40pxTechNews from the Y: The Latest Edtech Startups in Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 Class

7 new and exciting EdTech companies and their progress to date [8 min read  -EdSurge]

RoundupIcons40pxWorkforceNew Study Reveals English Language Learning Set for Significant Growth

English skills are considered increasingly necessary in a connected world and economy [3 min read - PR Newswire]

RoundupIcons40pxCoinPearson Launches New Investment Fund, With Focus on Tech and Workforce Skills

The education giant is looking to invest in lifelong learning and emerging technologies [3 min read - EdWeek]

RoundupIcons40pxWorkforceEducation Micro-Credentials 101: Why Do We Need Badges?

Micro-credentials are changing the learning environment, particularly for educators [2 min read - Forbes]

RoundupIcons40pxCoinFor investors, the future of education technology is now the workplace

Insight into the recent ASU+GSV Summit on education [7 min read - GeekWire]

RoundupIcons40pxWorkforceMicrosoft Launches Free AI Business School for Execs

Microsoft’s free, online AI Business School aims to educate leaders on how to incorporate AI into their operations [5 min read - CMSWiRE ]

RoundupIcons40pxWorkforceGoogle takes Hire, its G Suite recruitment platform, to its first global markets, UK and Canada

A look into Hire’s technology and Google’s strategy for the platform [4 min read - TechCrunch]





Global trends and innovation across the sector


RoundupIcons40pxCoin2019 is off to a strong start as deal value for the first quarter is already more than half of the total deal value for the 2016 and 2017 years. EdTech deals, while making up less than 40% of M&A deal volume, contribute 85% of total deal value for Q1 2019. 3 deals in particular have driven this value – the acquisitions of the Ultimate Software Group ($11bn in February), Clarivate Analytics ($4bn in January) and Turnitin ($1.75bn in March). Refer to the Transaction Highlights section for more detail on these deals. Half of the first quarter’s M&A activity involved small deals (less than $30m). Interestingly, almost 60% of these deals occurred in the Asia / Pacific region. Large deals (greater than $150m), although only 21% of deal volume, accounted for 96% of deal value, the majority of which occurred in North America. Consistent with prior years, strategic buyers are responsible for a clear majority of acquisition volume (83%). However, two of the three largest EdTech deals (specifically, the acquisitions of Ultimate Software Group and Clarivate Analytics), were made by financial investors. This resulted in financial investors accounting for over 86% of total deal value for the quarter.

Significant Fundraising Activity
Spotlight on IPOs

Koolearn Technology, a subsidiary of New Oriental and backed by Tencent, completed its IPO in March. The company provides online education services, and is the largest online education brand in the Chinese college-exam preparation market.

Koolearn is also the first online education service provider to IPO on the Hong Kong Exchange.

Date of listing: 28 March 2019Click here for  stock exchange filing
Listing exchange: HKEX (1797.HK)
Offer price: HK$10.20
Net proceeds: HK$1.57bn (US$200m)





Summary on mergers, acquisitions and fundraising

1) Deal size is an estimate
2) This deal involved the acquisition of Pearson’s US K12 courseware business
3) This deal involved the acquisition of Informa’s Life Sciences Media Brands Portfolio
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