Must Read Blog September 7, 2016

Impact at Scale: The 2016 Tyton Growth50 Winners

We are excited to announce the 2016 Tyton Growth50, which recognizes the top 50 organizations achieving impact at scale. Our effort with this initiative is to highlight dynamic companies that have pushed beyond the start-up phase and offer insight into what is required to sustain and extend market success across the education sector.

In reflecting on this year’s Growth50 cohort, we were struck by the concepts of “market”, “model”, and “velocity” as a lens into understanding the diversity among them. We share below how these concepts are visible, as well as the winners themselves.


Today’s education ecosystem is marked by the shifting boundaries of established markets, including the blurring of lines between historically distinct segments, and the emergence of new and accelerating areas of market spend. Teaching Strategies (early childhood curriculum and assessment solutions), Frontline Technologies (K-12 administrative systems),  and PluralSight (corporate and professional learning resources) are three among numerous examples of Growth50 companies successfully selling into long-standing end-customer markets that present numerous operational and competitive challenges. These companies are driving impact at scale while also introducing product and service innovations that are evolving and enhancing customer expectations.

Alternatively, companies like Fingerprint Digital (mobile education and entertainment platform for kids), Modo Labs (mobile app platform for higher education), and Skillshare (global learning community for creators) represent the wave of start-ups seeking to re-imagine and extend traditional markets. These firms are actively shifting institutional and consumer spending into new market categories, creating both winners and losers in this transition. As our team at Tyton Partners evaluates markets across the education sector, firms like these are pushing the boundaries of those definitions and the concept of what it means to be active in the sector.

Across the past decade the flourishing “edtech” ecosystem has generated numerous flavors of business models striving to transform the way things are done in education. For example, classroom educators have always employed third-party tools and resources to manage their classroom and the needs of their students. This trend hasn’t changed today, but the number and variety of options available to educators has changed dramatically. 2016 Tyton Growth50 companies such as Ellevation (web-based platform for ELL educators), PresenceLearning (live online therapy and diagnostic services for schools), and Quizlet (online tools to facilitate practice and formative assessment) are at the vanguard of this dynamic, having introduced technology-based solutions that delight and enhance educators’ efforts to manage teaching and learning activities, data and reporting, and general administrative responsibilities. Similar examples exist among Growth50 companies extending across the postsecondary education and corporate and professional learning environments (e.g., Degreed, Interfolio, Piazza).

Finally, as one knows, timing matters. Some of this year’s winners – companies such as BrainPop, Dude Solutions, Liaison International, and Penn Foster – have earned the Growth50 accolade based on delivering strong annual growth and customer impact over 15-20+ year period. Admittedly more common, however, are those examples of companies growing up fast (e.g. Benchprep,  Galvanize, Panorama Education, RedShelf, Udemy), and in several instances before they have hit their fifth birthday. These younger firms have much they still want to accomplish, and their initial market and customer velocity has positioned them for capturing long-term success in a manner that has eluded many of their early-stage peers.


Regardless of their approach across “market”, “model”, and “velocity”, the 2016 cohort illustrates the diverse paths pursued in achieving impact at scale. To that end, please join us in offering hearty congratulations to this year’s Tyton Growth50:

  • AcademicWorks
  • Accelerate Learning
  • Affirm, Inc.
  • Age of Learning
  • AlphaBest
  • Bach to Rock
  • BenchPrep
  • Bloc
  • BrainPop
  • Climb Credit
  • Degreed
  • Dude Solutions
  • Earnest Operations
  • Ellevation Education
  • EverBright Media
  • Finalsite
  • Fingerprint Digital
  • Flocabulary
  • Frontline Technologies Group
  • Fusion Education Group
  • Galvanize
  • GoNoodle
  • Grovo
  • Interfolio
  • IO Education
  • Istation
  • IXL Learning
  • Learner’s Edge
  • LearnZillion
  • Liaison International
  • Mentoring Minds
  • Modo Labs
  • Orbis Education Services
  • OutMatch
  • Panorama Education
  • Penn Foster
  • Piazza
  • Pluralsight
  • PresenceLearning
  • Questar
  • Quizlet
  • RedShelf
  • Research Square
  • SchoolCity
  • SkillShare
  • Smart Horizons Online
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Top Hat
  • Udemy

To learn more about the Tyton Growth50, contact us at

Each year, experts on the Tyton Partners team review nominated companies in the space, evaluating each against the Tyton Growth Framework to narrow the field. That analysis is used to select the 50 companies that best exemplify the impact, engagement, awareness and sustainability necessary to have lasting impact.