Thomas Zadvydas of The Deal recently wrote, “Venture capital investors are going to school on the education sector, hoping to help drive changes in the primary, secondary and post-secondary systems. According to a July analysis done by Chicago education-focused advisory shop GSV Advisors LLC, there were 168 venture and growth placements in the education sector in 2012, as compared to 80 two years earlier. And the MoneyTree Report, an analysis of Thomson Reuters Corp. data by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Alliance, venture capital investment in education businesses has grown 80% since 2005 to more than $632 million in 2012. ‘Education technology is a hot space. Many VC funds are active here,’ said partner Emilio Ragosa of law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. He cites Union Square Ventures, First Round Capital and FirstMark Capital as particularly energetic participants.”

He continues, “Ryan Craig founded University Ventures in early 2010. The firm focuses on the higher education market to avoid some of the policy entanglements that come with doing education deals… University Ventures has about $150 million under management and strategic partnerships with German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG and London’s Pearson. It has about eight investments in its portfolio; one is an edtech holding the firm helped form in December 2012 called UV Labs. It partners with schools to build new online learning products. Craig said UV Labs is to be considered very early stage. ‘We’re focused on creating [an alternate] mechanism by which learning experiences can be given,’ Craig said. ‘It’s a project that involves the same type of natural language processing and semantic Web work that’s gone on in technology companies, it’s just applied to education’.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy University Ventures