February 21 ,2014 | by Hari Sri

Google Capital Takes Aim at Education

Google’s new investment arm, Google Capital, is testing the waters in the education sector by investing in Renaissance Learning, the internet juggernaut has announced …

 

A cloud-based education platform that supports learning across K-12 – all of primary and secondary education in the US – Renaissance Learning will receive $40 million (£24 million) from Google in return for a minority stake. A representative from the company will also take a seat on the tech firm’s board.

 

Renaissance Learning works by using huge amounts of anonymised data about students’ learning style and knowledge to plot individual learning paths. Last year it acquired Subtext, the e-reading platform that benefited from the investment of Google’s other investment arm, Google Ventures.

The investment comes on the back of a $1 billion valuation of the education technology firm, which already serves nearly 20 million users across 60 countries. According to Bloomberg, Google Capital partner David Lawee sees education as one of the major investment focuses of the new investment firm.

The news was two-fold for the web giant: not only did it explain it would be ploughing $40 million into the Wisconsin-based education technology firm, but it announced the investment would be made through its new growth equity fund Google Capital, which was officially launched at the same time.

 

Although Google already has its Ventures arm to invest in up-and-coming technology firms, company explained that its new equity fund will take a different approach to developing promising young businesses.

Whereas Ventures will continue to focus on high-potential firms in the very earliest stages of development, Capital will work with those already in their growth phase. What’s more, it will give these firms access to the knowledge of some of Google’s own technological and product experts.

“That means finding companies that have already built a solid foundation and are really ready to expand their business in big ways,” said Mr Lawee in a post on Google’s blog. “We’ll look across a range of industries for companies with new technologies and proven track records in their fields.”

In the year since Google Capital first came into being, it has added Survey Monkey and peer-to-peer lending website Lending Club to its portfolio, as well as the newly-closed deal with Renaissance Learning.

 

<Principal image courtesy Duncan Hull/Some rights reserved>

Hari Sri

Hari is the LSBF Blog's News Editor. He manages the editorial content on the blog and writes about current affairs, SME, entrepreneurship, energy, education and emerging market news.

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