April Edition of the X Report
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In this month's X Report, we share news on the 2021 EdTechX Awards, take a look at the international school arena, and explore Q1 activity in the education sector. Each month, we will share a snapshot of key trends, showcase the stars of today and tomorrow, provide some food for thought as well as mergers, acquisitions and fundraising.

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The Reality Behind one of the Fastest Growing Education Markets
Giuseppe Iademarco, Millie Group

Growing up in Brescia, a small industrial town in Northern Italy, I clung to any opportunity to travel and get some international experience. Back home, the choice I had in terms of high schools would not allow me to go beyond the standard pathways of Italian education, and those international experiences met my desire for global exposure.

Today, an increasing number of students around the world can choose to follow an international education path from a young age by enrolling at an international school. These are institutions delivering a curriculum to any combination of pre-school, primary or secondary students worldwide, either wholly or partly in English.

In recent times, they have exploded in popularity. They grew from c. 2,500 in 2000 to c. 12,000 in 2020, barely keeping up with demand. Student enrolment rose by 518% in the period 2000-2020 and the current c. 6 million international school students are expected to double within the next decade. Initially created exclusively for expatriate families, with some countries even requiring a foreign passport as a prerequisite for enrolment, the vast majority of enrolments (approximately 80%) are now children of local families (Source: ISC Research).

However, while meeting the aspirations for international education, what international schools often provide is set pathways that limit students’ choices. For example, British international schools would guide their pupils towards UK universities, American international schools towards US colleges, ignoring destinations that are rising in popularity (like the Netherlands) or the needs of crossing curricula (e.g. British international school students looking to study in the US).

When students turn outside of their schools for destination-agnostic guidance, they find little help. The vast amount of freely available information is almost exclusively geared towards single-pathway students (a quick google search will show how queries like “writing a UCAS personal statement” addresses A-level students as opposed to AP or IB students who have never experienced the British system). 

Organisations like Millie Group, for example, are working to fill this information gap by engaging mentors, former international school students themselves, and having them provide what they wish they had when they were in high school. Mentors help in a variety of ways, from offering free support in the form of blog articles, webinars & panel discussions, or delivering paid programs. Consistent with the mission to act as a social enterprise, for every ten mentoring programs sold, Millie offer one pro bono to a deserving student.

I now live in New York where Millie is incubated at Columbia University’s StartUp Lab, and I recently found myself on a call with a head of school in Brescia. Today, like over 2,000 cities in the world, my hometown also has an international school.

Churchill - quote 1-2
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EdTechX All Stars Startup Awards Launch

EdTechX are pleased to announce the launch of the 2021 EdTechX All Stars Awards, honouring the most innovative, most impactful and fastest growing startups and scale-ups that are shaping the future of learning and work, globally.

Now in their ninth year, the EdTechX Awards have honoured numerous startup and scale-up companies that have gone on to reach new heights. Some notable success stories of previous winners include Busuu (2014), Kahoot! (2015), Studyportals (2016), Learnlight (2017), Kognity (2018), FutureLearn (2018) to name a few.

Determined by a global panel of judges, various factors are considered including revenue growth, scale, innovation and impact. This year, the EdTechX All Stars Awards are divided into three categories based on company size, growth, innovation and impact.

The EdTechX Innovation & Growth Award includes those education and training companies who have shown the most significant innovation and growth over the last year. 

The EdTechX Impact Award includes those education and training companies who can demonstrate meaningful positive economic and/or societal impact in education and learning or prioritising 'purpose over profit'.

The EdTechX Scale-Up Award includes those education and training companies with an annual revenue above €5m and who have shown the most revenue growth momentum over the last 3 years.

Our IBIS Capital team and global judges evaluate all applications and select a shortlist of the top 5 nominations - "The Finalists" - for each category. Two winners are then selected for each category.

Finalists will be invited to deliver a pitch presentation to our global community at the EdTechX Virtual Awards Ceremony in September 2021 at the end of which the six winners will be announced.

If you wish to submit your company for a chance to be showcased as one of the most innovative, impactful or fastest growing startups or scale-ups across the global edtech industry, apply now for our 2021 EdTechX Awards >>

Interested in being a partner of the 2021 awards? Contact us for more details at hello@edtechxglobal.com

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Market Roundup Logos1-1
Education market round up
FT - education
FE News - policy
Holon IQ - Education
Work market round up
Forbes - Work-1
Forbes - workforce
THE PIE NEWS - recruitment
investment market round up
Coursera IPO
FT- Pearson
Y Combinator - TechCrunch
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M&A Highlights
M&A Activity >
wisr M&A Smart Edu M&A
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(1) Source: S&P Capital IQ



Significant Fundraising Activity >
Coursera - 2 sanoma - 2
Centrical - 2


Valuation Benchmarks

Industry Analysis – Q1 2021 Mergers, Acquisitions and Fundraising

Graph 1

Global education deal making is off to a slow start in 2021, with Q1 M&A down around $1bn compared to the same quarter last year which represents a decline of approximately 40%. The lower deal value and volume compared to 2020 can likely be attributed to the pandemic, whose onset only came towards the end of Q1-20 and therefore would not have materially impacted prior year activity. Fundraising, on the other hand, has moved ahead of Q1-20. A total of $5.1bn has been raised in Q1-21, an increase of 36% when compared to last year’s $3.7bn.

Graph 2

While the current year decline in M&A may have been expected, it will be interesting to keep an eye on activity as we emerge from the pandemic. The accelerated adoption of EdTech on a mass scale brought about by COVID-19 could bring a flurry of M&A activity in the sector. Sellers, who have seen a marked increase in users, may look to make opportunistic exits while buyers may look to capitalise on potential structural changes in the education space.

Graph 3

Strategic buyers continued to be responsible for a clear majority of activity, accounting for 97% of deal volume while the United States and Canada dominated in terms of geography, accounting for more than half of deals. Unsurprisingly, large deals (defined as transactions with size in excess of $150m) accounted for approximately 70% of deal value, contributing a total of $970m. Two deals were classified as large – PowerSchool’s acquisition of The Naviance and Intersect Solutions businesses from Hobsons ($320m in February) and Renaissance Learning’s acquisition of Nearpod ($650m in February). On the fundraising side, notable transactions include a $1bn public offering by direct-to-student learning platform Chegg as well as a $390m private placement by China’s Fenbi Education.

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EdTechX Spotlight with Google Cloud