The Bottom Line
Tyton Partners’ tracking of postsecondary education investment deals highlighted an attractive category for the investor community in 2015: career services. By our count, companies supporting individuals’ transition from education to the workforce received the highest number of investments. What’s the common thread investors are looking for?
Each year, Tyton Partners tracks equity investments across all segments of the education ecosystem, gaining insight into notable trends across the sector. In 2015, our review of transactions across more than 20 market segments – totaling $1.2 billion in capital raised – found that the number of investments in companies delivering career services solutions nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, from 10 to 18, the largest increase across all postsecondary segments.
Scroll down to view changes in deal volume from 2014 – 2015 across all segments in Tyton’s database.
The Common Thread?
Many of these companies offer wholly online, and in many cases consumer-oriented alternatives to the conventional campus-based career services model. Notable companies included WayUp, an online social and mobile platform which received $7.8 million in funding, that allows students to create profiles that are then directly matched with internship opportunities with sought-after employers. Brazen, with $4.7 million in funding announced, provides real-time online communication features and an engagement platform to connect job seekers, recruiters, and alumni.
At a time when policy-makers, regulators, and institutions are doubling down on efforts to tackle college-to-career readiness and employability, investors are taking note of new ways to improve employment pathways. The promise – and profit potential – in these early-stage businesses is predicated on not only tapping into a groundswell of demand, but also in circumventing higher education institutional buyers altogether, by targeting revenues from employers, talent acquisition businesses, and individuals themselves.
Transitioning beyond the institutional career services model, these companies may achieve shorter sales cycles, stronger alignment to career placement outcomes, and the benefits of a larger addressable market for their products.
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