One year after launching, Google Capital has shown it’s wasting no time investing its money. Educational technology company Renaissance Learning is planning to announce an investment of $40 million from the Google fund in trade for a minority stake. The agreement sets Renaissance value at $1 billion.
CEO for Renaissance Learning Jack Lynch says the capital was not needed to operate, “but it definitely opens the door for many other opportunities”. With the investment, Google will own a small percentage of the company.
Renaissance Learning is considered a major participant in the online education world. Permira, a Europeon equity firm, is the majority owner in the company and Lynch says the revenue for the company is strong. An estimated 20 million students use the system and one third of the nation’s schools use Renaissance Learning’s solutions.
Michael J. De La Merced wrote in the New York Times that with the investment in Renaissance Learning, an interest in education has been expressed by Google Capital. The program uses cloud computing to assist teachers in the development of lesson plans for students; the system allows teachers to track student performance and improvement across multiple subjects. The collected data then gives educators alternatives to help their students when they encounter problems in reading, writing, math, and language arts.
“For many educators, the question is not whether to embrace new technology, but how to embrace technology in a way that makes teachers’ lives easier and meaningfully boosts student achievement,” Gene Frantz, an executive at Google Capital and a former partner at TPG Capital, said in a statement. “Renaissance Learning is at the forefront of this educational movement and their ability to use data to support effective teaching and drive student growth is unparalleled.”
Lynch says that Renaissance Learning tools provide “very precise insight into what students will know in order to [help educators] calculate and determine better sequencing,”, and that the system is easy for educators to use. Richard Byrne Reilly with Venture Beat reported on the investment and said that teachers access the cloud data through desktop computers and tablets.
If a 4th or 5th grader encounters problems with, say, figuring out fractions, the teacher inputs the data into the cloud, and through the Renaissance analytic channels, solutions are immediately proffered.
Due to expansion from Renaissance — the company purchased an e-reader platform start up, Subtext — Google’s capital could be a big help. The investment could be a help to Google also, as the company offers educational versions of some of their popular products, like Gmail, Google Docs, and Chromebook Computers.