Microsoft acquires TakeLessons, an online and in-person tutoring platform, to ramp up its edtech play

Microsoft said in January this year that Teams, its online collaboration platform, was being used by over 100 million students — boosted in no small part by the COVID-19 pandemic and many schools going partly or fully remote. Now, it’s made another acquisition to continue expanding its position in the education market.
The company has acquired TakeLessons, a platform for students to connect with individual tutors in areas like music lessons, language learning, academic subjects and professional training or hobbies, and for tutors to book and organize the lessons they give, both online and in person.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but we are trying to find out. San Diego-based TakeLessons had raised at least $20 million from a range of VCs and individuals that included LightBank, Uncork Capital, Crosslink Capital and others. TakeLessons posted a short note in the form of a Q&A confirming the deal on its


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Engageli nabs $33M more for its collaborative video-based teaching platform

As schools move more widely into reopening their doors for in-person learning, many educational institutions have also learned a critical lesson in the last year. Having better tools to teach remotely are critical for situations when the physical experience has to be shut down, but even when things are “back to normal”, better tech can still enhance what educators and students can do, and to whom teaching can be delivered. Now, a startup betting on virtual learning in higher education — and investing in the innovation to deliver that — is announcing a round of funding as it continues to expand its business.
Engageli, which has built an online teaching platform from the ground up — providing not just its own built-in-house video technology to deliver lectures and enable conversations, but tools to enable students to “sit” in study groups to work together; and features to share and annotate lecture notes,


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Udacity raises $75M in debt, says its tech education business is profitable after enterprise pivot

Online education tools continue to see a surge of interest boosted by major changes in work and learning practices in the midst of a global health pandemic. And today, one of the early pioneers of the medium is announcing some funding as it tips into profitability on the back of a pivot to enterprise services, targeting businesses and governments who are looking to upskill workers to give them tech expertise more relevant to modern demands.
Udacity, which provides online courses and popularized the concept of “Nanodegrees” in tech-related subjects like artificial intelligence, programming, autonomous driving and cloud computing, has secured $75 million in the form of a debt facility. The funding will be used to continue investing in its platform to target more business customers.
Udacity said that part of the business is growing fast, with Q3 bookings up by 120% year-over-year and average run rates up 260% in H1 2020.
Udacity said


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Kahoot picks up $215M from SoftBank for its user-generated, gamified e-learning platform

After announcing a modest $28 million raise earlier this year, the user-generated gamified e-learning platform Kahoot today announced a much bigger round to double down on the current surge in demand for remote education.
The Norwegian startup — which has clocked 1.3 billion “participating players” in the last 12 months — has picked up $215 million from SoftBank, specifically by way of a “private placement to a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., through issuance of 43,000,000 new shares.” The placement was made at 46 Norwegian Krone per share, working out to NOK1,978 million (or $215 million), and the funding will be used for acquisitions and also to continue its expansion.
Kahoot is traded on the Merkur Market in Oslo — a stepping stone between being a fully private startup and a publicly-listed company — and today the company is trading more than 15% up on the news. At market open today, it was


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Edtech startups prepare to become ‘not just a teaching tool but a necessity’

As Stanford, Princeton, Columbia and others shutter classrooms to limit the coronavirus outbreak, college educators around the country are clambering to move their classes online. 
At the same time, tech companies that enable remote learning are finding a surge in usage and signups. Zoom Video Communications, a videoconferencing company, has been crushing it in the stock market, and Duolingo, a language teaching app, has had 100% user growth in the past month in China, citing school closures as one factor. 
But Kristin Lynn Sainani, an associate professor of epidemiology and population health at Stanford, has a fair warning to those making the shift: Scrappiness has its setbacks. 
“[The transition to online] is not going to be well-planned when you’re doing it to get your class done tomorrow,” said Sainani, who has been teaching online classes since 2013. “At this point, professors are going to scramble to do the best they can.”
As the outbreak


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Amazon grows its education footprint with Amazon Inspire, a free platform for learning materials

 Back in March, we reported how the e-commerce and cloud services giant Amazon was poised to up its stakes in the educational publishing market with the launch a new, free platform called Inspire for teachers and others to post and share education resources online. Today, the company has confirmed it is doing just that. It has announced Amazon Inspire, an online education resources (OER)… Read More


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