Kahoot!: 5 things to know about SoftBank-backed education startup prepping to become Europe’s first major tech IPO in 2021

Kahoot! Image credits: Kahoot!

Previously, computer/electronic games were used only for entertainment purposes, but now they are seen as one of the ways for learning. This is because the usage of games’ elements/techniques in education makes complex theoretical knowledge more approachable. Notably, this practice is gaining momentum despite some debate over its value. 

Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kahoot! is one such startup that uses games to make learning more engaging. Founded by Alf Inge Wang, Asmund Furuseth, Jamie Brooker, Johan Brand, and Morten Versvik in 2012, Kahoot! offers learning games in minutes for any subject, in any language, on any device, and for all ages.

Prepping to go public this year

In the latest development, the Norweigan edtech unicorn is prepping up to go public this year. The company is listed on Oslo’s Euronext Growth exchange, however, it is planning a full listing on the main Norwegian stock market at the end of this quarter. 

In an interview with CNBC, Kahoot CEO Eilert Hanoa said, “We are transitioning to the main listing on the stock exchange at the end of this quarter, that’s the plan. He added that Kahoot hopes to reach a larger audience of investors with a full IPO.” 

Witnessed 247% growth amid COVID

The company’s IPO preparation comes at a time, where remote learning is in high demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the company’s claim, it has amassed revenue of $45.2 million (approx £33.2 million) in 2020, a 247% year-over-year growth from the $13 million (approx £9.5 million) it reported the previous year. 

In the fourth quarter, invoiced revenue reached $17.5 million (approx £12.8 million), representing a 230% increase from the same time last year. In Q4, user growth on the platform continued with more than 24 million active accounts, a 57% year-over-year growth. 

The company also saw strong growth in paid subscriptions for Kahoot!, reaching more than 550,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020. Also, the firm is predicting 2021 revenues between $90 million (approx £66.2 million) to $100 million (approx £73.5 million). 

Reached 5 billion players

On the other hand, the Oslo-based company announced recently that it has reached 5 billion cumulative participating players globally since its inception, with over 1.5 billion participating players in the last year alone. 

With a valuation of around $5.7 billion (approx £4.2 billion), Kahoot! is one of Europe’s most valuable educational technologies. And that’s not it. Here’re five things you need to know about the company:

#1 Acquired Drops 

Back in November 2020, Kahoot! acquired Drops, one of the fastest-growing language platforms in the world. Through this acquisition, Kahoot! plans to expand its platform into new areas of learning and make language learning awesome for millions of Kahoot! users worldwide. With 42 languages and 25 million users, Google named Drops the best app of the year in 2018. 

#2 Acquired Actimo

The company also acquired Actimo, the employee engagement platform to strengthen corporate learning across the world. Actimo, based in Denmark, has been on a mission to help companies connect efficiently with their employees since 2012. As per the company’s claims, more than one billion participating players in over 200 countries attended over 200 million Kahoot! sessions in the last year. Besides, it also partnered with organisations including, Disney, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Bitmoji, and more.

#3 Raised £158 million from SoftBank

Back in October 2020, the Norwegian-education firm Kahoot! raised $215 million (approx £158 million) from Softbank for a 9.69% stake in the company, amid the demand for online learning platforms during the pandemic. The company sold around 43 million new shares at NOK 46 per share to Softbank

#4 Create and host games in a live session

With Kahoot!, users can create and host games in a live session, or assign self-paced games for remote training. It is used by executives, HR, L&D professionals, sales teams, and more for training, compliance, presentations, and events, to connect and engage the audience. The company is headquartered in Norway with offices in the US, the UK, France, Finland, Denmark, and Spain.

#5 How Kahoot! was born?

In 2012, Morten Versvik, Johan Brand, and Jamie Brooker teamed up with Professor Alf Inge Wang in a joint project with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Later, the entrepreneur Åsmund Furuseth joined the team. 

The technology is based on research conducted by Morten Versvik, a student of Professor Wang’s at the time, for his Master’s degree at NTNU. So far, the company has raised $364 million in total funding from Softbank, Northzone, Creandum, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures), Datum Group, Accelerator Investments LLC (owned by Walt Disney Company), and Norwegian and international investors.

The roadmap for 2021

Well, the edtech company had an eventful 2020 even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And in 2021, the company is looking to strengthen and expand the team in various geographies. 

Apart from preparing the organisation for the main listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange, Kahoot! is planning to offer new, free, and premium tools and functionality for interactive presentations for school and work, corporate training, language learning, and Academy Marketplace.