Once an industry that didn’t receive much investment, European edtech is finally on the rise. The shift to remote learning triggered an explosion of interest in online learning tools and created a tailwind for edtechs looking to raise larger and larger rounds.
Paris-based startup 360Learning, which offers a collaborative learning platform for corporate clients, has raised $200m in funding, one of the biggest edtech rounds in Europe this year. The only other bigger edtech round this year was the €205m raised by Austria’s GoStudent in June, giving the region its second edtech unicorn in a year.
While the size of 360Learning’s raise would suggest a unicorn valuation, the company says it doesn’t want to disclose numbers.
The round was led by Sumeru, SoftBank and Silver Lake Waterman, with participation from Bpifrance Large Venture, XAnge and Educapital.
360Learning provides training for staff at big corporations, and says its aim is to move companies away from "top-down learning" structures. Clients include LVMH, Aircall, Toyota and Appen.
Other notable edtech companies in Europe include Multiverse, the business run by Tony Blair’s son Euan that recently raised $130m.
Nick Hernandez, founder and CEO of 360Learning, says European edtech has grown as it's started to extend its focus beyond schools to focus on corporate learning too.
"Edtech has grown at such a pace over the past few years that it’s no longer just about transforming traditional education settings like schools and universities, but workplaces too," he says.
"The demand for corporate edtech platforms is in part thanks to the talent war. This is becoming a severe problem for companies of all sizes with many CEOs realising they can’t hire the people they need to succeed."
So how did 360Learning manage to raise its $200m?
Hernandez's top 3 tips
1. Make sure you’re helping companies and individuals address the challenges mentioned above, and you’ll be sure to address the number one challenge of the post-Covid world and be seen as strategic by investors.
2. Show hypergrowth figures and prioritise growth over profitability. At the same time, show you have a plan in case of a downturn — everyone knows it'll happen sooner or later.
3. Don’t think with the old model (skill matrices, career plan builders, etc) instead, take a stance with a product-led vision for the future of education (peer learning, decentralised, etc).