First Half 2020 Learning Technology Investment Surged to $11.6 Billion

MONROE, Wash., July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — “The investment activity in the first half of 2020 could be an anomaly considering that huge unprecedented funding that went to just a few edtechs,” comments Sam S. Adkins, Chief Researcher at Metaari (formerly Ambient Insight). “A breathtaking $1 billion went to China’s Yuanfudao in March 2020. This is the first time in the industry’s history that a company has reached the $1 billion threshold. In June 2020, an equally impressive $750 million went to China’s Zuoyebang who claims to be the largest online education provider in the world with over 800 million users and 50 million daily active users (DAU).”

In the first half of 2020, 26 companies garnered over $100 million in funding and 438 obtained over a million dollars in investment. In the full year of 2019, 44 companies obtained $100 million or more in investment and 679 obtained one million dollars or more.

“Investment patterns are inherently unpredictable,” says Adkins. “The patterns produce a quantitative ‘rear-view mirror’ perspective, but they are not reliable leading indicators. Investments have spiked every year since 2015 reaching an unprecedented $18.6 billion in 2019. To put this in perspective, investments in 2018 and 2019 combined far outstripped the total investments made to all edtech companies combined for the entire twenty-year period between 1998 and 2017.”

In the last four years, investors have aggressively shifted their interest away from companies selling legacy products like eLearning to next-generation companies developing Cognitive Learning, AI-based Learning, Mixed Reality Learning (AR-based Learning and VR-based Learning), Mobile Learning, Location-based Learning (Location Intelligence), Collaboration-based Learning (live tutoring and live online classes), Game-based Learning, and even Educational Bots (both physical and virtual).

“An astonishing $4.44 billion was invested in 138 Collaboration-based Learning companies across the planet in the first half of 2020,” says Adkins. “But again this was skewed by the $1.75 billion that went to Yuanfudao and Zuoyebang, combined. Yet, in the first half of 2020, an impressive $2.96 billion went to 112 AI-based Learning companies. Just over $1.14 billion went to 38 Mixed Reality (AR and VR) Learning companies in the first half. In sharp contrast, a mere $92.5 million went to just five eLearning companies in the first half of 2020. Clearly, investors now prefer advanced learning technologies over legacy eLearning.”

China could overtake the US again in terms of total investments,” adds Adkins. “$3.90 billion was invested in 77 Chinese edtech companies in the first half of 2020, again being skewed by the massive investments made to Yuanfudao and Zuoyebang. In the US, $3.67 billion went to 113 learning technology companies in the first half. $1.41 billion went to 96 companies in India in the first half with 21% ($290 million in two rounds) of that going to the Indian online education juggernaut BYJU’S. $2.62 billion went to 229 other edtech companies across the globe. Investment in edtech was strong in the UK in the first half. Over $635.8 million was invested in 81 UK edtechs in the first half.”

Investment patterns can expose “customer-facing” trends if funding shifts to companies that serve specific buying segments. By the end of the first half of 2020, $6.03 billion had been invested in corporate-facing learning technology companies and $5.04 billion was invested in consumer-facing edtechs. In stark contrast, “only” $213.3 million was invested in companies serving the higher education and tertiary segments, although $815.8 million went to companies serving the PreK-12 segments across the globe. This is relatively impressive considering that PreK-12 companies garnered a total of $855.3 million for the entire year of 2019.

“The AR headset developer Magic Leap pivoted way from the consumer segment in late 2019 after burning through billions in funding and experiencing dismal headset sales,” reports Adkins. “Magic aggressively entered the global corporate training market by partnering with dozens of best-of-breed field force performance support providers and remote expert assistance developers operating mostly in the industrial sectors. Magic is also reselling many of these solutions becoming a bona fide training provider. Magic obtained $350 million in new funding in May 2020 indicating investor confidence in Magic’s move to corporate training.”

About Metaari
Metaari (formerly Ambient Insight) is an ethics-based quantitative market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for advanced learning technology suppliers. We track the learning technology markets in 126 countries. We have the most complete view of the international learning technology market in the industry. Metaari focusses solely on advanced learning technology research on products that utilize psychometrics, neuroscience, location intelligence, game mechanics, robotics, cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality.


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