Education Inc.

November 29, 2000 1 min read

Four leading education investment companies are poised to pour as much as $2 billion into education ventures over the next 12 to 24 months, according to a report by, a Boston research firm.

The report identifies the industry’s “Big Four” as the British educational publisher Pearson PLC and the venture arms of Kaplan Inc., Knowledge Universe, and Sylvan Learning Systems Inc.

“The impact of the Big Four’s investment activity will be most pronounced in the K-12 space, where these companies made 57 percent of their investments and acquisitions through the third quarter of 2000,” says the report, “Venture Dollars Get Smarter,” released this month.

Kaplan Ventures, the investment arm of the New York City-based test-preparation company, has invested in such businesses as Apex Learning, an online provider of Advanced Placement courses, and, a school procurement site on the World Wide Web.

Pearson’s investments this year include its purchases of the FamilyEducation Network, an online education portal, for $129 million, and National Computer Systems Inc., a test-processing company, for $2.5 billion.

Knowledge Universe, a company formed by the former junk-bond financier Michael R. Milken and others, has invested in Knowledge Kids Networks, a family-oriented Web site, and Premier Schools, a developer of online courses.

And Sylvan Ventures, the investment arm of the leading private tutoring company, has invested in Kawama Commerce, another Web procurement site, and Classwell Learning Group, an online curriculum-content provider.

Though education investing has slowed as the market’s interest in Internet business models overall has cooled, the report suggests the outlook for such investment remains positive.

For information on ordering the $500 report, see

—Mark Walsh

A version of this article appeared in the November 29, 2000 edition of Education Week as Education Inc.