2020 Russia and CIS EdTech 100. Where are they now?

How are Russia and the CIS Top 100 EdTech Startups of 2020 performing and where are they now?

Education Intelligence Unit

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July 22, 2021

In August 2020, HolonIQ announced the annual Russia & CIS EdTech 100 — a list of the 100 most promising EdTech startups headquartered in Russia & the CIS. As we open applications for our annual Russia and CIS EdTech 100, we take a look at where the 2020 cohort are now.

Russia and CIS countries are well known for deep tech capabilities, developed through its education system and the focus on STEM learning in early years and tech capabilities in adult up-skilling.  However, technology innovation can be seen right across the education landscape from Language Learning, Tutoring, Test Prep and Online Higher Education through to applications of virtual reality, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

In August 2020, we set out to learn more about the work of EdTech teams in Russia and CIS countries and how they are impacting learners, institutions and economies in the region, and more broadly across Europe and globally. Identified by HolonIQ and local market experts the 2020 Russia & CIS EdTech 100 identifies the most promising EdTech teams headquartered in Russia and CIS countries.

The annual Russia and CIS EdTech 100 recognizes the most promising EdTech startups based in the region and shines a light on the innovations occurring across the market. Governments and the media, institutions and investors, schools and educators, influencers and talented leaders from across the CIS and around the world look to HolonIQ’s Russia and CIS EdTech 100 as the benchmark for education innovation in the region. Applications close 17 September 2021.

2020 Russi and CIS EdTech 100

HolonIQ's Scoring Fingerprint

In 2020, HolonIQ’s Education Intelligence Unit evaluated 800+ submissions from across the CIS, powered by data and insights from our Global Intelligence Platform and local experts. Each organization was assessed using our proprietary scoring engine and following HolonIQ’s startup scoring rubric. Our normalization algorithm ensures that individual scoring bias is eliminated to create an equitable baseline and allows experts to review their own ‘scoring fingerprint’ relative to other experts. HolonIQ’s startup scoring rubric covers the following dimensions:

Market. The quality and relative attractiveness of the specific market in which the company competes.
Product. The quality and uniqueness of the product itself.
Team. The expertise and diversity of the team.
Capital. The financial health of the company and in particular its ability to generate or secure sufficient funding.
Momentum. Positive changes in the size and velocity of the company over time.

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Where are they now?

Since announcing the list one year ago, organizations in the 2020 Russia & CIS EdTech 100 have collectively raised over $80m with a number of significant rounds including the K12 online platform Uchi, which also acquired KodKlass programming schools and took a stake in Your Lesson during the year. Four year old kids coding school, Algoritmika, also raised $10M early in 2021. Both these rounds illustrate the strong demand for K12 digital learning infrastructure and STEM education in the region, and which also has global applicability. In workforce upskilling, Skill Cup micro-learning also raised funds and it is encouraging to see Kazakstan EdTech companies QLANG and Aero gaining momentum.

Big Tech Acquisitions, Products, Partnerships & Growth Activities

A notable event from the 2020 list was the acquisition of online programming training platform, Geekbrains by Mail.ru Group, one of Russia’s tech giants, as part of a plan to build its educational ecosystem and train 10 million people by 2023. Since the acquisition, Geekbrains has broadened its offering to include programs in 3D gaming and cinema.

Language Learning was a strong category in the 2020 list and in the year since announcement, we see Novakid, Allright and Skyeng English language learning platforms, raising solid rounds to support the ongoing demand for English in the region.

Beyond fundraising, organizations from the 2020 Russia & CIS EdTech 100 are active in products, partnerships and growth activities, with teams such as Skillbox and Netology partnering with Russian universities for online programs and Skyeng entering the Spanish market and launching an ISA model IT bootcamp.

Register for the 2021 Russia & CIS EdTech 100 Launch Webinar to learn more about the 2020 cohort and of course, be the first to know the 100 companies selected as part of the 2021 Russia & CIS EdTech 100.

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