Edtech to the United States
Trends and opportunities
Education technology (edtech) covers functions and devices that assist in:
- teaching and learning
- recruitment and admissions
- online course provision (accredited and non-accredited)
- testing and assessments
- accreditation and credentials management
- data analytics
- internship management
- student financing
- parental engagement
- infrastructure tools such as learning management systems.
In 2016, the United States (US) edtech market was valued at US$33 billion and is expected to grow to US$43 billion by 2019. The post-secondary segment comprises 54 per cent of the edtech sector, with kindergarten to year 12 (K – 12) the remaining 46 per cent. This split is predicted to stay about the same over the next three years (Source: Technavio, Education Technology Market in North America 2015–2019).
The US edtech sector has a product expenditure of US$11 billion , and is made up of over 1,500 companies and 150,000 education apps (across Android and iOS) (Source: GSV, EdSurge Profile – Potential, and All references to values are in US$).
Drivers of edtech in the US include:
- increased competition between institutions for students
- a search for productivity and efficiency gains to manage and lower costs
- student demand for increased access and ease of access. There is a growing demand for distance learning, with students seeking options that fit their financial, geographical and time needs
- six million (or 30 per cent) students enrolled in higher education are taking at least one distance course and the majority are undergraduate students
- the existence of improved options in education and the increase in investments in edtech. The number of private equity investments has doubled in the past few years, and venture capital investments have also grown by over 50 per cent
- lessons learned from massive open online courses (MOOCs)
- changing trends including personalised learning and blended learning
- fast adoption of mobile devices. For example, tablets are used in 85 per cent of K–12 school districts.
Read the Edtech US Market Snapshot (PDF 1.65MB) to find out more.
Due to the size and scale of the US market, there are opportunities for Australian edtech firms. Some Australian firms have had success, quite often in the K–12 sector. However the 15,000 school districts have autonomy to make their own purchase decisions.
Reflecting broader technology developments, apps are an important element of the edtech ecosystem. The educational apps market in the US was valued at US$2.5 billion in 2016 and is predicted to reach US$5.8 billion by 2019. In 2016, pre-primary education made up 40 per cent of the market; primary and secondary education 39 per cent; and higher education 21 per cent. The segments are predicted to stay fairly constant over the next three years (Source: Technavio, Education Apps Market in the US 2015–2019).
The US is an attractive market due to funding opportunities. In 2017, VC funding for US edtech start-ups is expected to reach US$1.4 billion (Source: Pitchbook, A second wind: VC investment in edtech is rising again, June 2017). In comparison, during 2016, US edtech companies raised US$1.03 billion, which was invested in 138 edtech deals. Companies that target K–12 raised US$434 million, higher education with US$319 million, and corporate or adult learning companies at US$274 million (Source: EdSurge, Ka’Ching! 2016 US Edtech Funding Totals $1 Billion, December 2016). There are several firms in the US that invest exclusively in edtech, such as New School Ventures Fund, Learn Capital and Rethink Education.
There are around 15,000 edtech decision makers at the school district level, 3,500 universities, and 1,500 community colleges and there is strong competition from US and other international developers and firms.
The size of firms varies from small start-ups to being publically listed and a few companies that are unicorns (with valuations over US$1 billion).
Hotspots for edtech throughout the US include San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Washington DC, New York, and Boston. Emerging edtech hotspots include Chicago, Texas and Utah.
Marketing your products and services
Austrade can assist Australian edtech firms in meeting the challenges that come from a huge and diverse market like the US.
One point of market entry in the US is through incubators and accelerators. The US has many accelerators catering exclusively to edtech companies or that have edtech as one of their focus areas. These accelerators normally run three to four month programs to help start-ups develop their business ideas, provide mentoring and opportunities for networking, and hold demonstrations or pitch days targeting potential investors. Many US-based accelerators will consider applications from Australian firms. Examples of these edtech specific ones include LearnLaunch, StartED, DreamIT Ventures, Jefferson Education Accelerator, and ASU-Draper-GSV Edtech Accelerator.
Austrade’s Landing Pad in San Francisco was established in early 2016 and provides market-ready Australian scaleups with a foothold in the North American market in the form of a 90-day operations base, tactical workshops, access to strategic mentors and service providers, and key network introductions. Find out more information about the San Francisco Landing Pad.
Conferences can be a useful way to find distributors/partners and sales. The two most prominent annual edtech conferences in the US are ASU/GSV and SXSWedu. ASU/GSV is held in March-May, and moves cities each year. SXSWedu is part of the larger SXSW event held every March in Austin, Texas.
Australian edtech companies can sell directly to customers in the market or use third party distributors.
Several edtech companies have also partnered with major education providers and publishing companies to enter the US market.
Links and industry contacts
Council of Chief School Officers (CCSSO)
Educause (Higher Ed Focused)
The Education Market Association (EDmarket)
ISTE | International Society for Technology in Education
The School Superintendents Association (AASA)
State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
U.S. Department of Education - Office of Educational Technology
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