Owl Ventures has closed more than $1 billion in new funds, the Menlo Park, California-based edtech investor announced Wednesday.
Leaders at Owl Ventures, the largest VC firm globally focused exclusively on edtech, say little is off-limits when it comes to the types of companies and technology they intend to invest in, from pre-kindergarten to higher education and the future of work. The firm is also looking closely at what it calls “EdTech+,” which is an industry that sits somewhere between traditional edtech and other types of technology, like fintech and health care.
“We’ve always been focused on investing in the very best education technology companies around the world, full stop, and we have a lot of flexibility in how we do that,” Ian Chiu, managing director at Owl Ventures, told Crunchbase News. “We can do seed stage all the way to traditional A, B and C rounds, and then also late stage, so the full gamut.”
Since its 2014 inception, Owl Ventures has invested in a varied list of fast-growing edtech companies around the world, including Apna, BYJU’S, Degreed, Greenlight, MasterClass, Newsela, Quizlet and Stash.
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The $1 billion in new funds is split across three areas: A $640 million fund (the fifth of its kind), a $270 million Opportunity Fund (the second of its kind), and more than $100 million in special-purpose vehicles.
Although all of the special-purpose vehicles funding has already been deployed, it’s still early days for the two investment funds. The Opportunity Fund will go to Owl Ventures’ existing portfolio companies.
The announcement marks a milestone for Owl Ventures, which in 2019 was dubbed a “rising star” by Crunchbase News when it had made investments in about 24 companies after raising its third fund, of $316 million. Today the firm has invested in 65 companies and has about $2 billion in assets under management.
“I think the milestone for us is really just a continuation of being the largest fund in this space,” said Tom Costin, managing director at Owl Ventures. “As a result, we will be able to attract top team LPs, really access what we believe are the top deals, and really create a virtuous cycle that we believe will help best position us to really capture this multi-decade opportunity.”
One of the firm’s major investment success stories is BYJU’S, the largest edtech company in India and one of the busiest startups in the field last year.
BYJU’S acquired Singapore-based Great Learning for $600 million, then Redwood City, California-based Epic for $500 million, and finally India-based Aakash Educational Services for around $1 billion in 2021. The startup is rumored to be considering going public in the United States through a SPAC, according to The Economic Times.
“Owl Ventures has been an invaluable partner to BYJU’S as we have scaled over the years,” Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of BYJU’S said in a statement. “As an edtech specialist, Owl is a differentiated investor that has provided unique value across many functions including acquisitions, partnerships, talent and international expansion.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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