Big ed tech companies tighten their grip while smaller firms run out of cash

Even as the country skidded to a dystopian halt in the first days of the pandemic, Sam Chaudhary and his colleagues found themselves with more work than they had ever seen.

Chaudhary is co-founder of the education technology provider ClassDojo, which enables kindergarten through eighth grade students, teachers and parents to share content, schedules and feedback — an obvious and critical need as education abruptly became remote.

Sam Chaudhary, co-founder of ClassDojo, which enables students, teachers and parents to share content, schedules and feedback. The company’s business model calls for giving its services to schools for free but charging families for them. Credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for TechCrunch

“We woke up on a Monday and saw 10 to 15 times” the number of customers the company had served at the same time the year before, he remembered. “It was nuts.”

That ed-tech firms are attracting lots of business in a newly virtual world likely doesn’t come as a surprise. What might is that not all of them are making money from it.

Analysts cite ClassDojo as an exception, with a model that gives its services away for free to teachers but charges families up to $7.99 a month to keep kids learning at home.

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