Google Capital Invests $40M in Renaissance Learning, Valued at $1B
Renaissance Learning, an education technology company that gets schools to pay real money for its learning analytics, has raised a fresh round of funding from Google Capital.
The K-12 school company raised $40 million at a valuation of $1 billion from Google’s new late-stage funding group for its third investment after Survey Monkey and Lending Club.
A representative for Google said the investment arm looked at some 500 education companies using technology before settling on Renaissance as the candidate with the best ability to market and scale.
Renaissance already supports 18 million paid student subscriptions — at a cost of about $5 per student per year — with various math and reading products. That’s in comparison to many ed tech companies that have trouble getting through to school principals and district leaders who make spending decisions. Renaissance, by contrast, says it administered some 45 million STAR assessment tests in the past year.
“If you use the analogy of global positioning, we have learning positioning to plot where the student is on a path. That’s the kind of insight a teacher will use to identify a missing foundational skill,” is how Renaissance CEO Jack Lynch described it.
Lynch noted that Renaissance, previously a publicly traded company, was taken private in 2011 by private equity firm Permira at half the valuation it just got from Google.
Google has previously intersected with Renaissance in multiple places — for instance, when the company bought e-reading tool Subtext, a Google Ventures investment. Renaissance is also working on what Lynch said is a deep integration with Google Apps for Education.
After this round, Renaissance “likely won’t raise more funding,” according to Lynch. “It was really not necessary to propel growth; we did it for strategic reasons,” he said. “We generate a lot of cash.”