Lightspeed’s Edtech Portfolio

Part II of my 2021 Edtech Outlook. Part I here.

In Part I, I wrote about where we’ve been and where we might be going in edtech. I thought I’d take a step back and share how we look at edtech at Lightspeed and how some of the trends we’re interested in have made it into our edtech portfolio at Lightspeed.

Given that we’re beginning to have a sizable education portfolio at Lightspeed, I wanted to share how we think about the sector and the companies in our portfolio.

I view the edtech sector as everything involved in the lifelong learning journey that begins when we are infants with early childhood education (ECE) and continues through old age.

Over a year ago I wrote about my “Future of Workers” thesis including my perspective on everything from higher education onward in the lifelong learning journey. We use the phrase “The Future of Workers” as distinct from the “Future of Work” which includes a focus on the software and tools we use to do work versus the companies enabling workers to get a job and the career lifecycle.

Below is a quick highlight of some of the current edtech companies in our US portfolio.

We also invested in Clark (acquired by Noodle), Orbis Education (acquired by Grand Canyon Education), and TutorVista (acquired by Pearson, BYJUs).

In China and India we are also investors in edtech startups including #LeleGlobal, SparkEducation, Putao, TenFen, FanDeng, KangarooMama, Teachmint, and more (some soon to be announced)!

K-12

Clever — We invested in the Series B of Clever in 2014. Here’s the announcement from Edsurge at the time — the company had 30k schools then.

  • What They Do: The team’s name is now synonymous with “single sign on” as they made pulling information from SIS’s (student information systems) with APIs easier so K12 schools could more easily create student accounts. Clever has paved the way for a generation of education applications to access schools and their students. Today over 22M students and teachers and 65% of schools use them.

Outschool — We invested in the Series B of Outschool, the live online marketplace of group classes, in 2020. Here’s my colleague Alex’s announcement post.

  • What They Do: Outschool is a marketplace where teachers post group live classes online around interest- and motivation-driven subjects. It originally served the homeschool market. Students can learn topics like architecture through Minecraft, Spanish via Taylor Swift lyrics, or critical thinking through Dungeons and Dragons. Today they’ve served over 500k students.

BYJUs — We invested in the Series C round in 2016. Here’s an announcement from a few months after we invested.

  • What They Do: BYJU’s is an edtech company providing test prep, online tutoring, and personalized learning solutions specialized early on in conceptual visualizations of academic subjects. Today they are the most valuable private edtech company in the world and have over 47M registered users.

Career Mobility

Handshake — We first invested in Handshake’s seed round in 2015. Here’s an announcement about their Series A in 2016.

  • What They Do: Handshake is a college student recruitment platform that allows students to find jobs and internships and connect with employers. They also provide virtual networking events and other services for career services centers. Today they are the largest database of college student professional profiles in the US with 17M students and 500k employers.

Multiverse (fka Whitehat) — We invested in the $4M seed round of Multiverse in 2018. My partner Nakul Mandan wrote this post about our investment. Here’s their blog post announcing the investment.

  • What They Do: Multiverse helps employers access alternative candidates through apprentice programs and recruits and matches apprentices with upskilling programs. At their Series A they’d worked with over 250 employers.

Forage — We invested in the $9.3M Series A of Forage earlier in 2020. I wrote this post about our investment.

  • What They Do: Forage is a career discovery platform that helps employers create courses about what it’s like to work in specific roles at their firm and allows candidates to apply for roles. They’ve helped over 1M candidates upskill.

Flockjay — We invested in the seed and Series A rounds of Flockjay. My partner Alex Taussig wrote about the seed investment in Oct 2019. Here’s another announcement about their latest round.

  • What They Do: Flockjay is a sales academic program and job marketplace. They support jobseekers and companies looking to level up in B2B tech sales by providing hundreds of hours of expert, fully-remote sales training.

Corporate Hiring & Training

Terminal — We invested in the Series A round in 2018. Here’s an announcement from that year.

  • What They Do: Terminal helps companies recruit and manage remote software engineers and provides remote software engineers with community and professional development opportunities. They racked up 4M hires in the first three quarters of 2019.

Betterup — We led the Series B in 2018 and invested the $103M Series C in June 2019. This was my Partner Will Kohler’s announcement post. Here’s a Techcrunch article from that year.

  • What They Do: BetterUp is a people experience platform for professional coaching, immersive learning, and insights. They had over 100 enterprise customers as of 2019.

Eightfold — We led their seed round in July 2016. Here was my partner Peter Nieh’s recent 2020 update about the company ahead of their Series D, unicorn announcement.

  • What They Do: Eightfold is an AI-Powered Talent Intelligence Platform transforming how we hire, engage and retain talent. They provide talent management & talent acquisition software.

If you’re a founder building the next generation of edtech companies, I would love to hear from you. Reach out anytime at mbent@lsvp.com

Hard work is never overrated. Always curious.