EverFi is a rare breed of education technology company that can boast a wide reach. It not only covers the K-12, higher education and corporate training markets, but its staff also work in some of the most remote corners of the country. Last summer, the company held its retreat at a Native American reservation in Montana, where a team had been introducing its financial education offerings.
Distinguishing the Washington, D.C.-based startup even more is today’s blockbuster fundraise: a $190 million Series D round, led by The Rise Fund and TPG Growth, which together chipped in $150 million. Other investors including Main Street Advisors and Advance Publications made up the rest.
This marks one of the biggest fundraises for a U.S.-based education technology company, second only to Bertelsmann’s $230 million investment in HotChalk in 2015.
Founded in 2008, EverFi offers digital content that tackles “big, intractable social issues” for K-12, higher-ed and adult learners who are often underserved in existing schools and companies, Tammy Wincup, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, tells EdSurge. Its content suite includes online courses on alcohol awareness, character development, financial literacy, sexual violence prevention, workplace conduct, and even touches on more traditional school subjects like STEM.
EverFi currently makes its K-12 offerings available to more than 20,000 K-12 schools for free. That’s possible thanks to subsidies from philanthropies and the corporate social responsibility arms of major banks, sports leagues and companies. Bank of America, for example, is a major sponsor of EverFi’s financial literacy program.
Making this model work, Wincup says, is one of the company’s “trade secrets…to not just deliver software, but also be able to engage with big brands and marry our interests.” The team in charge of managing these sponsor relationships is “relatively small,” she adds, in comparison to the company’s K-12 implementation team that has footprints across the country, from urban metropolises to coal country and the Mississippi Delta.
The company gets revenue directly from its other customers. Roughly 1,700 colleges and universities, including Stanford and the Ivy Leagues, pay EverFi directly to license its content. So, too, do companies such as AirBnB, Google, Oracle and Whole Foods. Overall the company has more than 4,200 paying partners and claims to have reached more than 16 million users.
The company isn’t raising this mega-round of money out of need. “We are cashflow positive,” Wincup says. Yet she says it big plans to expand its footprint internationally and apply artificial intelligence and virtual reality capabilities to its offerings. The funding will also support current initiatives such as the Campus Prevention Network, an effort involving more than 1,300 higher-ed institutions to combat alcohol abuse and sexual assault. Also expect to see additional content tackling summer learning loss, along with diversity and inclusion, in the near future.
Some of that money will likely support future acquisitions. EverFi has already snapped up two corporate training companies—LawRoom and Workplace Answers—within the past ten months.
With this round, EverFi has now raised $251 million. (Its last boost was a $40 million Series C round.) This deal is also the first investment from The Rise Fund, a “global impact fund” managed by TPG Growth and whose co-founders include Bono. The U2 frontman has been quite diligent in learning about the company operations, to the point of interrupting precious family dinner time for EverFi CEO, Tom Davidson, to scrutinize details of the business, according to Fortune.
Rise also announced today the trio who will guide its education investment efforts: John Rogers (former Founding Partner of Bridges Ventures’ U.S. Sustainable Growth Fund) will lead the team, advised by former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Coursera CEO Rick Levin.
“There are very few [funding] deals that have been this big,” acknowledges Wincup. “I think this is a win for the entire education technology community, a testament that there are successful growth companies in this sector.”