The VC firm launched by Silicon Valley vet Michael Moe, backer of Coursera and MasterClass, just closed a $180 million edtech fund

By Michael Haley

Given the nature of the pandemic, education has rapidly changed from the model of five days a week in a classroom to 100% virtual learning for most students. Even as some schools start to partially open, the hybrid approach of remote/in-person will remain the default for many districts trying to finish out the school year — and, likely, beyond.

For VC firm GSV Ventures, the state of education has reached a "tipping point," and the moment offers another chance to double down on the acceleration of how technology will increasingly be a permanent part of how we educate our kids.

On Wednesday, GSV announced that it closed its second fund at $180 million. The fund, named the GSV Fund II — B.C./A.D. (for "Before COVID" and "After Disease"), has already been deployed into edtech companies such as Class Technologies, Outlier, Photomath — it's and looking for more.

"The hyper acceleration of the market due to COVID brings unprecedented opportunities for us to help learners throughout the Pre-K to Gray system," GSV wrote in a Medium post announcing the new fund. "We're in a race to find and fund the companies that will bend the arc of education towards access and equity around the world."

GSV said its newest fund is being invested by a team of edtech leaders and investment professionals including Deborah Quazzo, managing partner; Michael Cohn, partner; Julia Stiglitz, partner; Luben Pampoulov, partner; and Michael Moe, a senior advisor.

Moe, a GSV founder, previously cofounded asset management and investment banking firm ThinkEquity Partners, serving as its chairman and CEO.

The fund will invest in early stage seed and Series A financing, with about 20% of the fund reserved for multi-stage growth opportunities, GSV said.

Revenue in edtech is projected to grow to $285.2 billion by 2027, according to a report published by Grand View Research.

In 2020, $13.3 billion in global venture capital funding went to edtech startups, according to Pitchbook data.

And more edtech-focused funds continue to appear. Owl Ventures, also focused in edtech startups, closed a $415 million fund in 2020, and GSV plans to close a third fund later this year.

The rush of funding also has pushed up valuations for some of most promising startups. Udemy, Coursera (which was backed by GSV's first fund) and Duolingo are all "unicorns" valued at more than $1 billion, according to Holon IQ.

GSV, based in both San Francisco and Chicago, raised its first $97 million fund in 2016, which then funded edtech companies such as Coursera, ClassDojo and MasterClass.