Owl Ventures closes $585mn for education technology funds

By William Smith
San Francisco’s Owl Ventures describes itself as the world’s largest venture capital firm focused on education technology...

San Francisco’s Owl Ventures describes itself as the world’s largest venture capital firm focused on education technology.

The firm’s strategy is to invest in education technology companies at all stages of growth and across the spectrum of age ranges, from school-age to professional learning.

Accordingly, Owl Ventures has invested in companies including Labster, MasterClass and Quizlet. Another of its investments, BYJU’S, named after founder Byju Raveendran, is an education technology startup founded in 2011. Catering to the Indian market, the company offers an app-based approach to learning and is indicative of the kinds of companies it invests in.

BYJU’s has since become the most valuable privately held education technology company in the world, and itself acquired startup WhiteHat Jr for $300mn.

The firm has now announced two new funds, one worth $415mn and an Opportunity Fund worth $170mn.

In a press release, Ian Chiu, Managing Director at Owl Ventures, said: "We are finding that our portfolio companies based in the U.S., China, Europe and India are mission-critical elements to continued learning," said Ian Chiu, Managing Director at Owl Ventures. "Inbound inquiries, user growth/engagement, and customer pipelines have dramatically spiked across our portfolio with our platforms being leveraged globally."

The deployment of education technology has only become more crucial thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many of the world’s schools to close. In its place, teachers have been resorting to remote teaching tools, such as Microsoft’s Office 365 Education.

Tory Patterson, Managing Director at Owl Ventures, said: "Since we began the firm, we have seen the digital revolution rapidly unfold in education and workforce development. 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."

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