Bain Capital Double Impact, TPG Growth bet on EdTech in the new year

BCDI backs TeachTown, whose social-emotional software is tailored to students with special education needs, while TPG Growth leads an investment in Prodigy Education, an interactive math learning platform known for its popular educational video game.

Bain Capital Double Impact and TPG Growth are ramping up their efforts in EdTech – a pocket of technology investing that has garnered increasing attention amid the covid-fueled remote environment.

“Even prior to the pandemic, school districts were straining to meet the needs of the 7 million children with individualized education plans, and the pandemic has only exacerbated those needs as these students adapt to remote learning,” Iain Ware, a managing director at Bain Capital Double Impact, told PE Hub.

Earlier this week, BCDI unveiled an investment in TeachTown, a provider of hybrid-learning core curriculum and social-emotional software for students with special education needs. The same day, TPG Growth led one of the largest funding rounds in North American EdTech history – backing Prodigy Education, an interactive math learning platform known for its popular educational video game.

BCDI, which backs companies that generate environmental, social and governance benefits, invested in TeachTown through both Fund I and Fund II. The vehicles closed on $390 million in July 2017 and $800 million in November 2020, respectively.

TeachTown’s learning platform – used by more than 50,000 students with special education needs in over 1,000 school districts – aligns with that playbook.

One of the firm’s core impact themes is education and workforce development, Ware told PE Hub. The firm invests in mission-driven companies to improve access to high-quality education opportunities for underserved populations, the investor explained.

“We believe that TeachTown represents a significant opportunity to create meaningful social impact at scale by offering students outstanding curriculum programs that are purpose-built to meet the particular learning needs of special education students,” he said.

More specifically, TeachTown offers a curriculum software, which includes both immersive English and math activities, and is adaptive to both distanced and in-school learning, the investor added. The company also uses machine learning and data analysis to dynamically adapt curriculum scope and inform real-time guidance, TeachTown said in the press release.

The investment from BCDI is set to fuel TeachTown’s continued expansion of its product-suite with offerings like enCORE, a standards-based core curriculum product serving K-5 students with moderate to severe learning disabilities, as well as middle school, grades 6 to 8, Ware said.

“Over the long term, we aim to activate additional impact through continued innovation in existing products and accelerating the rollout of new adjacent products,” he added.

BCDI’s investment comes amid a notable EdTech transaction led by TPG Growth, the mid-market and growth equity vehicle of TPG.

Prodigy Education said Tuesday it has received a combined CAD$159 million (approximately $125 million) led by TPG Growth, with an additional investment from its current investor, the Canadian Business Growth Fund (CBGF).

As the need for digital learning tools accelerates, Prodigy is well-positioned to continue to lead with innovative and engaging game-based, adaptive learning solutions, Jacqui Hawwa, principal at TPG Growth, told PE Hub.

“We see a significant opportunity for the company to accelerate its market reach, expand value for the company’s global user base, grow the product platform and scale the team, while meeting the need for new – and fun – digital learning solutions,” Hawwa said.

The investment will help Prodigy to accelerate its market reach, bolster the advancement of its renowned Math Game, and further strengthen Prodigy Math Tutoring, the firm said in the announcement.