SoftBank invests $215 million in education start-up Kahoot as coronavirus boosts e-learning

  • Norwegian education platform Kahoot announced Tuesday that it’s raised $215 million from SoftBank.
  • It plans to use the fresh funds to fuel growth through new partnerships, joint ventures and acquisitions.
  • Educational technology, or “edtech,” has flourished this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.



Masayoshi Son wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., reacts during a dialog session with Jack Ma, former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., not pictured, at Tokyo Forum 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.


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Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., reacts during a dialog session with Jack Ma, former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., not pictured, at Tokyo Forum 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

LONDON — SoftBank has invested $215 million in Norwegian education start-up Kahoot, taking a 9.7% stake in the company, as demand for online learning platforms skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Oslo-based firm said Tuesday it had agreed to sell 43 million new shares at a price of 46 Norwegian krone — or about $5 — per share to SoftBank. It

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SoftBank invests $215 million in education start-up Kahoot

Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., reacts during a dialog session with Jack Ma, former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., not pictured, at Tokyo Forum 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg via Getty Images

LONDON — SoftBank has invested $215 million in Norwegian education start-up Kahoot, taking a 9.7% stake in the company, as demand for online learning platforms skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oslo-based firm said Tuesday it had agreed to sell 43 million new shares at a price of 46 Norwegian krone — or about $5 — per share to SoftBank. It plans to use funds raised from the deal to fuel growth through new partnerships, joint ventures and acquisitions, CEO Eilert Hanoa told CNBC.

“It’s all about the general switch in mindset from digital tools being a nice-to-have additional set of features in

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Seattle startup Skilljar raises $33M as pandemic sparks demand for its customer education software

Skilljar co-founders Sandi Lin (left) and Jason Stewart. (Skilljar Photos)

The third time really has been a charm for Sandi Lin and Jason Stewart.

The entrepreneurs began their startup journey in 2013 when the former Amazon employees launched Everpath, a Techstars Seattle company that tried to build a Yelp for online classes. They soon pivoted and began targeting independent instructors, offering them a platform to host online education.

“I call those my first two failed startups,” Lin said this week.

It was the third evolution of the original idea that really took off. Lin and Stewart saw a lot of interest from enterprise companies needing help building customer education experiences. They ultimately launched Skilljar, which has now delivered more than 10 million hours of instruction and 100 million lessons via on-demand and virtual live training programs hosted on its learning management platform.

Skilljar is set to grow even more after

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This Japan Startup Is Using Deep Learning To Detect Early-Stage Cancer In Blood Samples

Imagine going for a routine blood test during an annual health checkup and being able to select a screening option that could tell you whether you have early-stage cancer. A Japanese startup is using deep learning technology to realize this dramatic advance in the fight against cancer, one of the top causes of death around the world.

Unique skillsets

PFDeNA Inc. was established in 2016 as a joint venture between DeNA, a Japanese internet giant, and Preferred Networks, Japan’s leading artificial intelligence startup, to solve complex problems. One such problem is cancer detection.

PFDeNA’s cancer research can be traced back to the vision of one of Japan’s pioneering entrepreneurs. In 1999, Namba Tomoko founded DeNA, a mobile and online services company that had extraordinary

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Vancouver-based online course education startup Thinkific raises $22M

The Thinkific team. (Thinkific Photo)

Thinkific, a Vancouver, B.C.-based online education startup, today announced a $22 million round led by Vancouver firm Rhino Ventures.

Founded in 2012, the company helps 50,000 instructors create their own online courses and teach users on topics ranging from guitar lessons to fitness classes to business coaching.

Thinkific course creators have earned more than $650 million this year alone. The startup, ranked No. 36 on the GeekWire 200, reported nearly 150% year-over-year revenue growth and plans to hire 350 people over the next 18 months. It currently employs nearly 200.

Thinkific co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said the pandemic caused a 200% increase in online courses created on the company’s platform since March.

“Even before the pandemic hit, we were witnessing significant growth, but we’ve now seen the course creation industry change forever,” he said in a statement. “A massive number of entrepreneurs are rapidly

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Leading Online Education Startup SketchyMedical Secures $30 Million Investment From TCG

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SketchyMedical, a leading online education company that teaches complex concepts through visual memory techniques, today announced it has received a majority-stake investment of $30 million from TCG. The investment will be used to scale company growth and establish an in-house studio for live content and animation for tackling new subjects.

“Students love how the SketchyMedical team leverages the powerful combination of creativity and animation to make the tedious task of memorization more fun,” said Mike Kerns, Co-Founder and Partner, TCG. “The possibilities are endless for this approach to learning, and we’re looking forward to helping them scale the business and grow their passionate user base.”

Founded in 2013 by four medical students, SketchyMedical uses the well-regarded memory palace technique to help fellow students retain the overwhelming amount of information necessary for board exams and beyond. SketchyMedical offers tiered subscriptions that include a comprehensive set of video

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How Online Education Startup Outschool Raised $45 Million During The Pandemic

The pandemic has been good to Outschool CEO Amir Nathoo, 40. Today the cofounder of the five-year-old San Francisco-based online education provider announced that he had raised $45 million in a funding round led by Lightspeed, a Silicon Valley venture fund. That brings the total invested in Outschool to $57 million.

“We’ve been dealing with overnight rocketship growth,” says Nathoo, who won’t share Outschool’s valuation. Last year revenue totaled $6.5 million, he says. In 2020 it’s on track to hit $100 million and he says Outschool is turning a profit.

The platform offers a staggering 50,000 not-for-credit classes aimed at students in grades K-12. That’s up from 15,000 just three months ago. Among the most popular right now: How to Make Awesome Animated Movies, a five-week course for students aged 10-15 that meets once

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