Not rendering correctly? View this email as a web page here.
dec cartoon

For the final instalment of 2019, we discuss the four day working week, emerging markets in Asia as well as comparing Q3 performance in the sector. The report aims to provide you with a bite-sized summary of what is happening in the world of learning and training. 

Now & Next
Global All Stars
market roundup
Valuation Benchmarks
M&A v3-1




The key trends impacting education and training today

From 996 to 954
By Charles McIntyre, IBIS Capital

Chinese tech workers can only dream of Dolly Parton’s famous “Nine to Five” song as they are often expected to deliver 12 hour days for 6 days a week, the so-called “996” regime. As Dolly pours out a cup of ambition and heads out into the workplace, the correlation between productivity and working hours is interesting.

The data from the likes of the OECD indicate that GDP per hour worked is highest when people spend fewer hours working. This summer Microsoft in Japan tested out a four-day working week.  The shortened week led to more efficient meetings, happier workers and boosted productivity by a staggering 40%.  So the less we work, the happier we are, and consequently the more effective when we do get round to working.   

Studies show that cognitive abilities are lowest amongst those that work more than 50 hours a week and those, importantly, who don’t work at all. Work is good for us, it is just a question of how much.  The sharpest cognitive skills appear to be when you work part-time on 25 to 30 hours a week, which is a step on from the ambitions of a 4 day working week, a “954” regime.

In the UK in the 1800s, adults were expected to work unlimited hours and six hours a week.  It wasn’t until 1847 with the Factory Act that the ten-hour day was enshrined in law and then a further 50 years for the eight-hour day to come in.

The changes have not just been in the UK. The graph below illustrates the changes in the number of working hours since the 1950s in different parts of the world. The Europeans have seen the most dramatic reductions as can be seen with France and Germany, but the US has seen little change since the 1980s.  The real work horses of the world can be found in Asia.average hours graph
The interesting question is what happens when we introduce the automation that is expected in the workplace over the next 15 years. Will productivity increase or will workers push for a 30 hour week?  Ideally the arrival of collaborative robots, so called “cobots” will allow us to achieve both. Or in Dolly World: “..its enough to drive you crazy if you let it, 9 to 5, yeah, they got you where they want you. There’s a better life. And you think about it don’t you….”

Quote 1



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

Are Emerging Markets the 'Promise Land' for EdTech?
By Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, EdTechX Holdings

When comparing trends between developed and developing worlds, one thing becomes clear. Emerging markets are not only more open to using EdTech, but are also more willing to pay for it. There are four main reasons as to why: digital supremacy - there are more people in emerging markets connected to the internet, the tipping point being reached in 2017; these markets represent 90% of the world population under 30 years old, creating a generation impact; there is less government inertia to stall the development of EdTech and finally there is more appetite for education, driven by the understanding that better education brings better life outcomes.

Most notably, Asia is becoming an education powerhouse. China alone has one of the largest education markets in the world, with an estimated $300 billion in revenues. The demand for education in Asia is unprecedented and unparalleled - 90% of growth in student enrollment between 1999 and 2012 came from Africa and Asia. Yet, Asia is distinguished from Africa, due to the tremendous demand for high quality private education offerings. Asia is expected to contribute 80% of international higher education enrollment growth between 2003 and 2020.

Asia’s EdTech industry is also booming. Eastern EdTech brands have been able to capitalise on Asia’s demographic - population size, increasing middle-class income (including at least 2.5 million millionaires) and increasing spend in education. Chinese families are projected to be spending six times more on their children’s education in 2020. China’s eLearning user base alone has over 150 million users at any one time. This is 50% of the total U.S. population, however, only 11% of the population in China are accessing eLearning.

Evidently, investment is pouring into the Asian EdTech market. China’s education sector, which was a relative stranger to the capital market a few years ago, is now diving into the public market. In 2018 alone, China-based edtech ventures raised $5 billion with 538 deals. From that, China based education saw 14 IPOs and 35 M&A deals. In terms of destination, five of the IPO’d companies were listed in the U.S. Asia is thus rebalancing the U.S’ global influence. Driven by its ability to leapfrog infrastructure, the growing investment in the sector means that Asia is outgrowing and infiltrating the U.S. market. The EdTech market in China has played to the advantage of the emerging markets, now representing the biggest market for education and training.

This exert was taken from a report by Citi :






A global snapshot of the edtech market

Market Roundup Logos
Pre K12 & K12 header3
Super Mario to Help Pupils Jump Tech Skills Gap
China's Education Technology Revolution
Education: Power to the People
higher education v3
HE pays too much for tech
higher ed 2v2
10 predictions for HE
Corporate Training v2
Four Day Working Week
EU Launches 2bn fund
4th Industrial Revolution redefines Economy
Quote 2




Summary on mergers, acquisitions and fundraising

Lumerit Education

1 Deals sourced from Capital IQ and Mergermarket

2 Significant Fundraising - NetDragon: This fundraise involved NetDragon’s education subsidiary, Best Assistant Education Online Limited

Significant Fundraising Activity
kenzie academycoachhub

blue x divider



Valuation Benchmarks  

Summary of transactions and fundraising activity

In previous month’s editions, we have taken a look at M&A activity in the industry with a focus on trends, drivers and key players. Now we turn to fundraising, and in particular, venture capital.

Bar Chart - Finishedv1

EdTech is attracting high levels of investment as institutions and individuals recognise the efficiency and efficacy of digital education delivery. A sizeable share of this activity is taking place in Asia, notably China which has been a core driver of growth in VC investments in recent years. In terms of sector spread, K12 has been a clear front runner in the past. Interestingly, Human Capital has been gaining ground as the growing market for online corporate training and learning management software promotes investment.

2018 stands out as a record-breaking year with over $8bn invested and almost 75 investments completed in Q3 alone. Key transactions include China-based VIPKid’s $500m raise, Zuoyebang’s $350m raise and India-based BYJU’s $540m raise. While Q4 tends to bring a flurry of activity, it seems unlikely that 2019 will be able to match 2018’s stand-out performance.

Pie Charts

Going forward, we expect to see fewer funding events but larger amounts per event. AR, VR and AI-enabled products are likely to attract investor’s attention, and there is still significant opportunity for companies looking to raise funds and bring innovation to the industry.

blue x divider
Holiday Discount Banner