The educational technology sector in Massachusetts, which already employs some 25,000 people, continues to grow in large part because of burgeoning interest by employers in providing training to employees, according to a new report from an industry accelerator.
The State of Work Force Edtech, published by LearnLaunch in Boston, reports that investors are pouring tens of millions of dollars into Massachusetts educational technology companies such as CareAcademy and Authess. But while the industry grew initially by developing software and services for colleges and universities, the action is now around worker training.
“We found that close to $3 billion has been invested in last three years in whole set of new players providing either functional training or 21st century skills or marketplace skills,” says Eileen Rudden, co-founder of LearnLaunch.
“It addresses the whole system of how companies are finding and growing employees in a tight labor market in Massachusetts.”
The report, funded by the Lumina Foundation, finds that workforce educational technology companies in the United States attracted $2.9 billion in funding between 2015 and this year, with half of that money going into companies developing solutions to train workers, rather than to educational institutions. The potential market is immense in a world where experts believe that technology disruption may displace as many as 800 million jobs worldwide.
The global market for corporate learning alone is expected to reach $31 billion by 2020.
“To keep pace with innovation, modern corporations are expanding their learning and development programs. On-demand training is essential to corporations operating in dynamic and compliance-driven markets. In addition, businesses are increasing the use of online functional training programs as middle-skill talent becomes scarcer,” the report concludes.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which provides management and human-resources education for hundreds of employers, is part of the trend. The association has for many years offered online training courses in collaboration with MindEdge Inc. of Waltham.
“The persistent challenge of finding skilled employees is placing a premium on training as a means of improving productivity and reacting to market opportunities,” says Gary MacDonald, Executive Vice President of AIM HR Solutions.
The LearnLaunch Accelerator provides educational technology startup companies with access to capital, mentors, knowledge and work space. The organization has nurtured more than 45 companies.
Rudden said educational technology startups are still selling to colleges and universities, where 25 percent of graduate degrees are earned online, as well as to so-called “informal” education settings such as coding boot camps. Some companies such as New York-based Trilogy Education Services are combining those markets by establishing partnerships to deliver training boot camps within universities.
Investment in the Massachusetts Edtech sector has been steady:
- Panorama Education raised a $16 million B round led by Emerson Collective
- Ellevation Education raised a $10 million B round led by Reach Capital
- Better Lesson raised a $10 million B round led by Owl Ventures
- Tinkergarten - $5.4 million Series A led by Owl Ventures
- DataCamp - $4 million Seed 4 funding led by Arthur Ventures
- College Vine raised $3.1 million a round from Morningside Technology Ventures
- AdmitHub raised $2.9 million led by Reach Capital
- Pragya Systems - $1.67 million of Series 1 and 2 Seed funding from undisclosed investors
- KinderLab Robotics - $1 million raised of Seed funding from Brain Robotics Capital
- Chalk Talk - $2 million from undisclosed investors.
- CareAcademy - $1.93 million Seed led by Rethink Education, Lumina Foundation and Techstars