BY FRANK CATALANO on
Seattle-area market research firm Metaari has released its annual tally of global edtech investment, and the numbers are eye-popping. Across all markets for learning technology, worldwide funding reached a record $9.52 billion in 2017, up 30 percent from the previous year’s total.
Metaari said 813 different edtech companies received funding last year, also a record number.
Metaari Chief Researcher Sam Adkins said in a statement accompanying the release of the new whitepaper, The 2017 Global Learning Technology Investment Patterns, that of the more than $37.8 billion invested in education technology companies since 1997, “a striking 62% of that was invested in just the last three years between 2015 and 2017.”
But in case you think startups targeting schools and colleges are the recipients of this windfall, not so. Consumer- and corporate-facing learning companies are dominant, with consumer companies raising more in 2017, at $3.85 billion, than corporate companies, at $3.79 billion, for the first time. PreK-12 companies received 13 percent of the overall global investment, and higher education companies got 8 percent, for a combined 21 percent of the money going to PreK-20 companies.
There are also some less-bright spots when looking at geographical differences:
- India saw a drop in both the number of deals and total dollars invested, from $564 million in 2016 to $398 million in 2017.
- Latin America had a sharp decrease in funding, totaling $61 million, with six of the nine companies receiving investment located in Brazil.
- China continued to attract a “massive” amount of edtech company funding, at $1.77 billion, but down from $2.06 billion a year earlier.
Still, the report said U.S. companies remained at the top for edtech investment, accounting for over 58 percent of all learning technology funding in 2017, “more than three times the investment that went to companies in China,” Adkins stated.
Metaari’s figures and methodology differ from some others who track edtech funding by taking a broadly defined, global view of edtech. For example, EdSurge also reported an uptick in education technology funding in 2017, but it focused only on U.S. K-20 investment. EdSurge’s annual total of venture investment in U.S. startups was $1.2 billion, higher than 2016’s tally but not quite reaching 2015’s record peak.