31 education technology companies taking learning to the next level

These companies are shaping the industry, tackling questions of pedagogy and business one day at a time.
June 10, 2019
Updated: September 5, 2019
Written by Mae Rice

When you think of educational technology, do you picture a classroom full of teens immersed in their tablets—perhaps dissecting cyber-rats? That happens, no doubt, but edtech goes beyond K-12 classroom engagement tools, and plays an increasingly crucial role in the educational experience.

As author and educator George Couros put it, "Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational."

The growing and maturing edtech industry encompasses any and all technology that facilitates learning for kids and adults. That includes classroom assessment tools for teachers, education-specific fundraising sites, reader-adaptive ebooks and more. 

13 Top Edtech Companies With $50M+ Funding

  • Newsela
  • Civitas Learning
  • Dreambox Learning
  • Guild Education
  • Coursera
  • Schoology
  • Instructure
  • Knewton
  • Chegg
  • CreativeLive
  • Duolingo
  • Remind
  • Kahoot!

In 2018 alone, American edtech companies raised $1.45 billion —an all-time high that tied 2015 investment levels. In 2018, though, investors concentrated on a smaller number of firms, which is a sign that clearer industry leaders are emerging.

Still, the future of edtech remains in flux. When it comes to student-facing technologies, for example, where’s the line between teaching kids tech literacy and fomenting tech addiction? Also, will there come a point when edtech ditches kids altogether to focus solely on revenue-generating corporate clients? Time will tell.

The following edtech companies are helping to shape the industry, and tackling questions of pedagogy and business in the process.

newsela edtech companies
Newsela

Newsela

Location: New York City

What it does: Newsela curates a digital library of relevant, trustworthy nonfiction readings—often focused on issues of social justice—and adapts them to a wide variety of reading levels. Based on articles from Scientific American, The Washington Post, as well as historical documents, Newsela’s readings all come with comprehension assessments.

 

civitas learning edtech companies
Civitas Learning

Civitas Learning 

Location: Austin, Texas

What it does: Colleges and universities synthesize disparate student data through Civitas Learning’s signature Student Success Intelligence Platform. Used at almost 400 institutions of higher education, the tool helps schools predict when students will need extra support and in which fields they might thrive. 

 

teachers pay teachers edtech companies
Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers

Location: New York City

What it does: On Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace termed the “Etsy of education,” teachers buy and sell worksheets, lesson plans, and other educational resources for grades pre-K-12. Since its inception in 2006, the site has grown even more relevant as districts nationwide adopt standard Common Core learning objectives. Today, more than 70 percent of teachers in the U.S., Canada and Australia use TpT.

 

panorama education edtech companies
Panorama Education

Panorama Education

Location: Boston

What it does: Panorama Education, a data analytics company, focuses on surveys that measure school climate, teacher engagement, student satisfaction and other aspects in K-12 schools. The team designs the surveys (which can be taken securely via mobile) and administers them. The company then helps the more than 11,000 schools that use its services to analyze and act on the amassed data. 

 

dreambox learning edtech companies
Dreambox Learning

Dreambox Learning

Location: Seattle

What it does: With its adaptive K-8 math curriculum, Dreambox Learning aims to make math accessible and exciting. Their technology tracks students’ problem-solving approaches, constantly re-sequencing problems and recalibrating difficulty based on student performance. Meanwhile, bright visuals, sprightly sound design and other game-like touches offset the drudgery of long division.

 

guild education edtech companies
Guild Education

Guild Education

Location: Denver

What it does: Guild Education helps working adults continue their employer-funded education with online courses from more than 80 universities. Walmart, for instance, pays all but $1 per day toward business degrees for its employees. Disney offers a similar plan. 

 

snap raise edtech companies
Snap! Raise

Snap! Raise

Location: Seattle

What it does: Snap! Raise simplifies group fundraising for sports teams and youth groups, replacing the hassle of door-to-door sales and flyering with customizable online campaigns. Its interface expands the reach of digital campaigns so they take less time and manpower. The site also helps teams coordinate fun extras, like prizes for major donors.

 

donors choose edtech companies
DonorsChoose

DonorsChoose

Location: New York City

What it does: This crowd-funding platform, akin to GoFundMe, has a laser-sharp focus: fundraising for public school classrooms. Founded in 2000 by a high school history teacher in the Bronx, the site allows teachers nationwide to post funding requests for all kinds of supplies, from robotics kits to books to printer ink. To date, donors have given more than $800 million to underfunded classrooms through DonorsChoose.

 

coursera edtech companies
Coursera

Coursera

Location: Mountain View, Calif.

What it does: Coursera offers classes from more than 150 top universities, including Stanford and Duke, in an open online format. More than 20 million students have explored fields that include data science, philosophy and fashion through the platform’s suite of video lectures, auto-graded homework assignments and discussion forums.

 

schoology edtech companies
Schoology

Schoology

Location: New York City

What it does: Schoology’s learning management system—primarily designed for K-12 classrooms—emphasizes collaboration and fun. The system allows kids to work and chat together. It also offers teachers a one-stop portal for administrative tasks, including lesson planning, grading and quiz administration. 

 

voxy edtech companies
Voxy

Voxy

Location: New York City

What it does: Voxy specializes in mobile-friendly English-language courses geared toward a variety of contexts, including higher education and corporate environments. Its curricula—tailored to goals like passing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (also known as TOEFL) and discussing data analytics— adapts to user successes and mistakes in real time and incorporates live-streamed one-on-one tutoring.

 

instructure edtech companies
Instructure

Instructure

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

What it does: Instructure is best known for Canvas, a slick and simple learning management system used by more than 3,000 higher education and K-12 institutions. Built around input from top-tier universities like Berkeley, the Canvas interface allows teachers to create customizable course sites, annotate assignments and more.

 

knewton edtech companies
Knewton

Knewton

Location: New York City

What it does: Knewton’s focus on adaptive learning—digital learning tools that respond to students’ strengths and weaknesses as they study—has earned the company multiple innovation awards from Fast Company. Its courses, geared primarily towards math, science and economics, offer custom study recommendations for students and granular analytics for teachers.

 

chegg edtech companies
Chegg

Chegg

Location: Santa Clara, Calif.

What it does: College is expensive—Americans have more than $1 trillion in student debt—but Chegg's goal is to alleviate that financial burden, especially when it comes to textbooks. Its online marketplace allows students to buy, rent and sell used books. Through its site, Chegg users also have access to free online tutoring.

 

creative live edtech companies
CreativeLive

CreativeLive

Location: Seattle

What it does: CreativeLive offers video classes for the artistically-minded that cover topics like Adobe PhotoShop editing, sound design and wedding photography. Its past instructors include Tim Ferriss (of The 4-Hour Workweek) and Alex Blumberg (of podcast studio Gimlet Media). And thanks to the live-streamed class format, students can get answers to questions in real time.

 

duolingo edtech companies
Duolingo

Duolingo

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

What it does: Duolingo’s free app helps users learn more than 30 languages, from Spanish to Esperanto, via game-like instruction. Users score points and execute timed challenges to ascend to new levels. It’s reportedly effective, too. A recent study found that students learned roughly as much from 34 hours of Duolingo as they did from a first-semester Spanish course.

 

wolfram alpha edtech companies
WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha

Location: Champaign, Ill.

What it does: Think of WolframAlpha as similar to a search engine like Google, but for more academic knowledge. While Google can do basic arithmetic, WolframAlpha can multiply matrices or run a regression. Its search engine, especially the subscription-based Pro tool, also allows users to analyze hyper-specific data on topics ranging from movie ratings to greenhouse gas emissions.

 

remind edtech companies
Remind

Remind

Location: San Francisco

What it does: Remind’s app lets teachers, students and students’ families send text and voice messages via phone, skirting the privacy hassle of exchanging actual phone numbers. With 31 million monthly users, the platform makes communicating school-related deadlines and objectives simpler.

 

kahoot edtech companies
Kahoot!

Kahoot!

Location: Oslo, Norway

What it does: Kahoot!’s interface transforms review sessions and homework assignments into “Kahoots,” or micro-quiz-shows. Students tackle a question together—ideally on a shared screen—and whoever gets it right first earns points. The competitive element has made Kahoot! a hit with kids, but also in business meetings and trivia settings. 

 

simplilearn edtech companies
Simplilearn

Simplilearn

Location: San Francisco

What it does: In Simplilearn’s online courses, professionals can earn certifications in areas like project management, financial management and Microsoft usage. The classes, which blend live-streamed instruction with online assignments and round-the-clock academic support, have trained more than a million people in 150 countries. 

 

flipgrid edtech companies
Flipgrid

Flipgrid

Location: Minneapolis, Minn.

What it does: Recently acquired by Microsoft, Flipgrid’s popular platform—used by about 20 million students—works much like a discussion board. Instead of posting written responses to prompts, though, students post short videos. They can also put together longer video presentations and receive video feedback from their teachers.

 

applyboard edtech companies
ApplyBoard

ApplyBoard

Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

What it does: ApplyBoard helps high school and college students across the globe study abroad in North America. Using the company’s online marketplace, young people sift through more than 1,200 schools in the U.S. and Canada, finding programs that fit their academic and financial needs. ApplyBoard’s tools help streamline the application process, too, providing a secure storage space for transcripts and other key documents.

 

sapling learning edtech companies
Sapling Learning

Sapling Learning

Location: Austin, Texas

What it does: Sapling Learning’s online homework platform bolsters students’ understanding of tough STEM fields, like calculus and physics. The interface asks questions in a variety of styles, including multiple choice, free response and ranking problems. Along the way, it offers relevant hints, feedback and clarification—even on questions that students get correct.

 

infobase edtech companies
INfobase

Infobase

Location: New York City

What it does: Infobase creates educational enrichment materials for K-12 schools and libraries. Founded in 1940, it started out making print resources like The World Almanac and Ferguson’s. In more recent years it has fully embraced technology, enhancing its publishing imprints with video components, eBooks and web supplements.

 

mcgraw hill education edtech companies
McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education

Location: Columbus, Ohio

What it does: McGraw-Hill has been a major textbook publisher since 1917. These days, however, that’s just one facet of its business. It also creates science-based learning experiences such as SmartBook, a reading tool whose content adapts to its users. Additionally, the company makes eBooks, mobile applications and digital curricula. 

 

watermark insights edtech companies
WAtermark Insights

Watermark Insights

Location: New York City

What it does: Rather than encouraging universities and colleges to collect more data, Watermark Insights helps schools leverage the data they already have in new ways. Through the company's platform, school leaders can glean big-picture insights from often-Balkanized sets of information on topics ranging from student learning outcomes and course evaluations to curricula and institutional surveys. 

 

quizlet edtech companies
Quizlet

Quizlet

Location: San Francisco

What it does: Invented in 2007 by a high schooler studying for a French vocabulary test, Quizlet has grown into a digital learning platform with more than 50 million monthly users. Students can use it to make custom sets of mobile-friendly flashcards and diagram decks, which they can then review in a variety of ways. The platform also sells professional test prep content.

 

seesaw edtech companies
Seesaw

Seesaw

Location: San Francisco

What it does: On Seesaw’s student engagement platform, kids complete assignments—which teachers can cull from a built-in activity library—through drawing, photography, video recording and writing. The design lets teachers and parents track kids’ thought processes and review their finished work, which saves to personalized digital portfolios.

 

apex learning edtech companies
Apex Learning

Apex Learning

Location: Seattle

What it does: Apex Learning’s online courses and tutorials complement middle and high school curricula, preparing students for college and beyond. The company’s interactive courses can offer high achievers further enrichment, or fill knowledge gaps for struggling students.

 

rosetta stone edtech companies
Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Location: Arlington, Va. (Washington, DC area)

What it does: Through Rosetta Stone’s software and web services, students can gain proficiency in 30 languages, including English. The curriculum — which blends listening, speaking and writing — frequently circles back to foundational concepts.

 

open sesame edtech companies
Open Sesame

Open Sesame

Location: Portland, Ore.

What it does: Open Sesame matches companies with e-learning courses that are relevant to their employees. Drawing from a library of more than 20,000 courses on subjects from manufacturing to healthcare, Open Sesame’s team helps companies select and integrate appropriate courses into pre-existing training platforms.

 

Images via Shutterstock, social media and company websites

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