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Nordic EdTech News #93: 2023-08-07
Your Weeks 27 - 31 update from the Nordic and Baltic EdTech ecosystem
Nordic EdTech News is the best way to keep up with the EdTech ecosystem across 8 Nordic and Baltic countries. I curate it from company updates and a wide variety of international sources. It’s a passion project of mine - the rest of my time is spent advising / consulting the companies who lead the future of learning. If you’d like to find out more, drop me an email.
Hi, good morning and hope that you had a relaxing summer break. This is the first newsletter since 3 July, so there’s lots to catch up on. Let’s dive straight in!
Obviously the biggest Nordic EdTech story from the last few weeks is the all-cash private equity deal to take Kahoot back into private ownership (Link). Kahoot’s board recommended the offer of NOK 35 a share from Goldman Sachs’ asset management arm, General Atlantic and LEGO Group’s KIRKBI Invest (amongst others). It values the company at NOK 17.2bn or $1.7bn - that’s a chunky premium on the recent share price but some way off their $6bn valuation during the Covid pandemic.
Of course, shareholders still have to approve the deal and that’s not a formality. Although most analysts are recommending the deal, many smaller investors and some EdTech founders, whose businesses were acquired by Kahoot, are unhappy with the price and process to date.
In recommending the deal, CEO Eilert Hanoa commented that: “With the support of the new owners, the Kahoot! Group would have access to necessary capital to accelerate the company’s growth agenda, as well as global resources, networks and expertise in scaling technology companies.” On the investors’ motivations, the FT noted that: “Private equity investors have been attracted to acquisitions of listed companies this year owing to falling valuations on public markets, amid a broader dearth of dealmaking including between buyout firms.”
Two other significant acquisition stories to report. Inspera have concluded a deal to buy Crossplag as part of their strategy to build a digital assessment ecosystem (Link). Crossplag delivers advanced AI-enabled plagiarism detection, giving institutions “tighter integration of originality checking and AI writing detection capabilities.” Additionally Sweden’s MyFirstApp has completed the acquisition of 10Monkeys, a Finnish EdTech focused on maths learners globally (Link). The expanded business is committed to “identifying and acquiring additional entities within the sector.”
Sanoma Learning’s H1 report was one of many financial reports published over the last few weeks (see below). The group (HQ’d in Helsinki) revealed that its Finnish learning business grew by 5% during the half year to EUR 43.8 million from 41.6 million in 2022 - price increases and phasing of orders had a positive impact on net sales. Overall, total net sales across Learning grew to EUR 264 million (2022: 219).
The UN’s report on technology in education gained plenty of headlines but didn’t actually call for a ban on smartphones, as was widely reported. Rather it calls for technology built “on a rights-based framework, where digital inputs are NEVER more important than learning outcomes.” An excellent summary of the report by a Norwegian expert is available here.
“Shaping Digital Education: Enabling Factors for Quality, Equity and Efficiency” from the OECD received significantly less coverage, but aims to “support governments in shaping digital education.” To paraphrase one commentator, the recommendations go in a different direction to current Swedish government policy!
If you missed Brighteye’s H1 European Edtech Funding Report whilst relaxing in a hammock, you’ll find it here. Details of their forthcoming EdTech Startup Festival have also been released - sign up for free here.
Congratulations to three more Nordic EdTech founders o joining the latest cohort of the European Female EdTech Fellowship: Iris E. Gisladottir, Co-founder of Evolytes, Skaiste Lazdauskaite - Ivanauske, Co-founder of Scoolsy and Taina Mikkola, Co-founder of TinyApp.
Scoolsy was also one of 8 EdTech companies (all from the Nordics and Baltics) chosen to join the Digital Education Accelerator, organised by the European Digital Education Hub (Link).
I‘m delighted to be speaking at EdTech Denmark’s Digital Læringsdag in Copenhagen on 6th September and at Learning Conference (20 - 21 September) in Stockholm. Look forward to catching up with colleagues, friends and subscribers then!
As always, if you’ve got a story that you’d like me to include in a future issue of this newsletter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, tag me on Twitter or LinkedIn or use #nordicedtech / #balticedtech.
Thanks for reading, Jonathan
News from Denmark
A decision in the landmark Chromebook case is now anticipated later this month or by the beginning of September at the latest. Not great for skolestart! (Link)
News from Estonia
Is the fact that 98% of Estonian teachers take part in annual CPD part of the reason behind their success? Absolutely… (Link)
Garage 48 and Triumf Health have won grants to increase the digital capacity of educational institutions in Moldova. (Link)
News from Finland
News from Iceland
News from Latvia
From 2026, a new pilot scheme will offer adults access to individual learning accounts that provide a personal learning budget to upskill on courses that meet national or labour market needs. (Link)
The Latvian National Library is developing a strategy for promoting children's literacy, which is critically low at the moment. (Link)
News from Lithuania
News from Norway
Only one in five principals in grunnskolene report say that they have purchased teaching aids for the “new” curricula in all subjects. 3 years after it was introduced. (Link)
Plans announced to assess Norwegian students on long-term projects rather than exams or tests. (Link)
News from Sweden
Astrid have launched “the world's most advanced AI assistant for spoken communication skills” which delivers a new approach to coaching and learning.
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