The dynamic landscape of education has one thing constant, i.e., knowledge shaping lives and societies. Amid the ups and downs that edtech confronted, the Owl Venture played a crucial role and continues to stand as the torch bearer of innovation. After nine years, Owl Ventures has offices in America and Europe with an international portfolio of more than eighty firms that run worldwide. It is one of the most prominent venture capital funds that deal with education technology and has more than $ 2 billion as its asset in management value.
Despite a steep decrease of 50 per cent in venture funding in 2022, the edtech sector stood tall with $10.6 billion in investments and 1,400+ funding rounds, compared to 1,500+ in 2021. Innovations in blended learning, remote work, direct-to-consumer models, enterprise learning and skilling, AI-enabled learning, 1:1 device programs, and the seamless integration of AR/VR have facilitated seamless integration in education and contributed to the birth of the latest generation of edtech. Regardless of the economic climate, they have never faltered as a result of their multistage practice, allowing them to back the most profitable sections of the educational technology industry.
Owl Ventures has released its Education Outcomes Report 2023, highlighting the impact of edtech. The report outlines key emerging trends and the education landscape across various sectors, including Pre-K12, Post-Secondary, and Career Mobility.
Here’s what the report has to say about the various education landscapes:
Although the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many difficulties, including learning loss, a teacher shortage, and mental health challenges in students, it has caused significant progress in Pre-K-12 education. In the US and UK, there are still some achievement gaps; thus, many children require additional schooling. Despite these difficulties, this industry has set a foundation for huge development due to US investment and international policies promoting world growth in Pre–K-12 edtech. There is hope for innovation in this era and the future of education.
The digital revolution has dramatically changed post-secondary education, as 48% of learners prefer digital learning. Increasingly, governments worldwide appreciate online education, and more than twofold growth in the number of Indian online degrees is evidence of it. Almost all employers regard online credentials as being on par with conventional credentials (i.e., 88% of institutions), treating them alike and as equally important for the future. A rapid increase is expected in the trend of online and “just-in-time” skills education, with online and blended modes accounting for almost 90% of higher education by 2030.
Digitisation, increased workforce, and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in rapid transformation in the labour market. The next ten years will see technology changing almost one billion jobs worldwide, making nearly one out of sixteen persons change careers by the year 2030. Despite displaced jobs, there are 7.4 million job openings in the US; however, addressing the skills gap is crucial for the economy. Consumers and enterprises spend about $1.5 trillion for education and training in the exploding global corporate training market.
Emerging Trends in 2023 and its impact on the edtech ecosystem:
Upskilling: With automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and digitisation, job markets are moving fast. Therefore, flexible learning solutions are required in traditional higher education, which is always lagging behind industry requirements. Out of 100 U.S. adults, only 29 per cent feel they were fully prepared for life by their schooling. For instance, organisations such as Degreed and UBITS help people gain competencies, while skilled trades programs draw and retain under-educated employees.
Artificial Intelligence: AI is transforming education into a more individualised, cost-effective manner of learning. Over the next ten years, the global market is anticipated to expand with a $100 billion increment. Owl’s portfolio firms, such as Amira Learning, Sizzle AI, and Workera AI, are leading the integration of AI to improve support and efficiency.
Early Stage Investing: Owl invests in early-stage companies, including pioneering startups like Newsela and Quizlet. These companies support seed-stage companies like Ethiqly and ubiMaster, among the first investors in AI products that aim at education. Disruptive startups have been born with the blossoming global edtech market. At the very idea stage, Owl supports such enterprises and visionaries.
Talent: Integrating digitisation and artificial intelligence has made it easier for top stars to join edutainment. In addition, giant companies such as Google, Meta and Microsoft have all teamed up with experienced entrepreneurs in this field, notably Rajen Seth, Jerome Pesenti and Eran Megiddo. The latest trend on the edtech scene is expert intervention. The board of Owl Venture’s portfolio companies also includes highly skilled people like Kim Caldbeck and Catherine LaCour, who specialise in education and training.
Mental Health: Mental health matters as the world moves beyond COVID-19. 42% of students reported feeling sad or hopeless in 2021, while 29% experienced poor mental health at that time. The study also reveals that over one in every five adults in the USA is mentally ill, including college students. This partnership includes working with the likes of Coala, Hazel Health, and Panorama Education in order to mitigate these challenges.
International Acceleration: Owl has invested in 25 companies outside the US, with nearly 20% of global edtech deals in the European market. Asia and Africa are the major drivers of the fast-growing markets. Owl wants to lead the charge in this global change, servicing international investments, and limited partners and fostering relationships within the dynamic EU edtech arena.
In addition to the education landscape and emerging trends, the report also showcases a variety of portfolio companies that are using innovative solutions to improve learning outcomes, increase access to education, and prepare learners for the future of work, company outcomes, impact and more.
Check out the full report here.