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Mapping out one edtech company’s $200M bet on lifelong learning

Emeritus plans to acquire iD Tech, a STEM education service for children, which brings a whole different set of customers to its umbrella.

Mumbai-based Emeritus, an edtech company that works with universities to create online up-skilling courses for employed folks, just spent a big chunk of cash to break into K-12.

Emeritus, which is part of the Eruditis group, announced today that it plans to acquire iD Tech, a STEM education service for children. The acquisition, which has not yet closed, is estimated to be around $200 million and leaves iD Tech operating as an independent brand for now.

In August, Eruditis raised a $113 million Series D from investors including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia India and Leeds Illuminate. Today, the startup has more than 200 programs, from bootcamps to online degree programs, that are offered to career folks in partnership with more than 50 of the world’s top universities, including MIT, Harvard and Columbia. ID Tech brings a whole different set of customers to its umbrella: the startup offers courses for elementary through high-school students across the globe taught by college students in the U.S.

The acquisition will allow Emeritus, which has been on a hiring and fundraising tear as of late, to grow beyond adult learning and well into the world of lifelong learning. It’s a trend we spotted back in a January edtech investor survey: Investors then mentioned how remote education needs to extend beyond school hours as learners become more multi-layered. Edtech companies would soon have to find ways to create value for students throughout their educational experience, starting from early childhood into post-employment.

Breaking into lifelong learning sounds great, but it’s a complex goal, given that a freshman in high school learns differently than a full-time employed professional with six years of experience. Emeritus CEO and co-founder Ashwin Damera spoke to TechCrunch to explain why it makes sense from a product and revenue perspective.

“Last year we started seeing a lot of K-12 teaching moving online,” Damera said. “Then we opened our eyes and said, we used to think that this audience is not ready to learn online, but maybe we should re-look at that assumption.”

The universe of universities

In order to execute on lifelong learning, a company needs to be able to seamlessly transition its audiences — from high school to college to post-employment — between products. In Emeritus’ case, Damera explained how the two companies already overlap in the middle of that chain: higher ed.

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