‘Edtech is no longer optional’: Investors’ deep dive into the future of the market

Including interviews with Owl Ventures, Reach Capital, Cowboy Ventures, TCV and more

One reason some venture capitalists and founders don’t enter edtech is because the space has a sluggish stereotype, thanks to red tape, slow sales cycles, and, in America, a fragmented customer base.

But data suggests that edtech’s reputation is not entirely earned. Byju’s is India’s second-most-valuable company. Since 2013, there have been 300 acquisitions in the space. And if you only understand success in terms of unicorns, two edtech businesses, Quizlet and ApplyBoard, were recently added to the $1 billion valuation club.

The tension between edtech’s stereotype and its potential for return, plus the surge in remote learning due to coronavirus-related shutdowns, poses an interesting challenge for the market.

In the beginning of the pandemic, TechCrunch talked to a group of edtech investors to get their knee-jerk reaction to the remote learning boom. Unsurprisingly, many commented that the heat-up of the sector will materially impact K-12 and higher education and unlock new opportunities. Others warned early-stage edtech startups about how newfound competition could hurt content, quality and effectiveness of their end product. Overall, the general message was that the boom is here, everyone is excited and waiting to see what happens next.

Fast forward a few months, mistakes and extended school closures later, edtech now has a better inkling on what the next billion-dollar business needs to get right. Last week, we got into trends that have promise in a post-pandemic world. Today, we’ll step out of sub-sector specific dialogue and get into the macro-impact of rapid change on edtech as a whole. You’ll get an eagle-eye view of what rapid change, adaptation, and for lack of better phrasing, popularity does for the market.

Today you’ll hear from the following investors: