Ambient Insight's Adkins Moderates Investment Panel at EdNET 2013

Ambient Insight Releases Whitepaper on Global Learning Technology Investment Patterns

SEATTLE, Oct 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Sam S. Adkins, Ambient Insight's Chief Research Officer, moderated a panel on worldwide learning technology investment at EdNET 2013, the world's leading education event, in Denver on September 24th. 


The panel included internationally well-known investment experts Clement Erbmann, Managing Director of First Analysis Corporation, and Harold Levy, Managing Director of Palm Ventures. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1989, Erbmann worked for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Levy was formerly the New York City Schools Chancellor and subsequently the Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Kaplan.

Before turning the session over to the distinguished panelists, Adkins presented key findings from Ambient Insight's free whitepaper, "The 2012 Global Boom in Learning Technology Investment." Sam's presentation included new content unveiled for the first time at the event including investments made in 2013 so far. By mid-September, investment had already climbed to over $1 billion for the year.

The free whitepaper and Sam's presentation can be found in the Ambient Insight Resource Library at:

"Ambient Insight closely monitors the investments made to learning technology suppliers across the planet," comments Adkins. "I have been tracking the investment patterns since 1999 and have a unique longitudinal perspective. The investments made to learning technology companies in 2012 were the highest in the history of the learning technology industry, reaching over $1.5 billion. The spike in higher education funding alone reached $431 million, more than double the $218 million from the year before."

The panel provided invaluable insight on the dynamics of the new ed tech investment climate including guidance on what investors are looking for and advice on how to get funding. Each investment firm has different criteria, cautioned the panel. Erbmann's firm targets established companies with positive cash flow and high growth rates and Levy's firm looks for "distressed" education businesses and innovative startups.

When asked if he thought the current spike in ed tech funding was an investment bubble, Levy said "No, because education is the last sector to be disrupted." That said, Levy informed the audience that his company will not invest in a company without a solid pedagogical foundation. Mr. Erbmann added that the biggest mistake he sees is the attitude that "if we build it, they will come." Levy agreed, saying "traction beats technology every time."

"It was fascinating to get the inside perspective about the current investment activity. When the 2012 investment patterns for higher education and PreK-12 learning technology companies are analyzed independently, there are striking differences," adds Tyson Greer, Ambient Insight's CEO. "Investment in higher education companies was heavily concentrated in established firms with histories of positive cash flow. In contrast, many of the PreK-12 companies funded in 2012 were startups with short track records."

One topic that came up was alternate forms of funding, including crowdfunding and microfinancing, and the impact of the new wave of incubators and accelerators that focus exclusively on learning technology. Ambient Insight has been tracking these trends for several years.

According to, there were over 450 crowdfunding platforms by the end of 2011. Erbmann told the audience that crowdfunding was now an established practical funding source for startups. He also said that "the incubators and accelerators are allowing new ed tech companies to get to market that would never have gotten off the ground in previous times."

Media Contact: Sam Adkins, Ambient Insight, 360-805-4298,

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SOURCE Ambient Insight



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