SoftBank pays $215m for a stake in Kahoot

13 Oct 2020

A classroom playing Kahoot. Image: Kahoot

With investment from SoftBank, ed-tech platform Kahoot plans to continue building and refining its technology.

Today (13 October), game-based learning platform Kahoot announced that SoftBank Group has bought a 9.69pc stake in the start-up. SoftBank, which has backed the likes of Slack, Uber, ByteDance and DoorDash, has invested in the Norwegian start-up as demand for remote education tools increases as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SoftBank paid 46 Norwegian Krone (NOK) per share in the company, in a total deal that worked out as NOK 1.978m or $215m. Kahoot is currently traded on Oslo’s Merkur Market, which TechCrunch described as a “stepping stone” between being a fully private start-up and a publicly listed company.

The announcement comes just a few months after Kahoot raised $28m for its technology, which is used by schools, organisations and families to create, share and play learning games.

In a statement, the company said that the new investment from SoftBank will help it build on the “strong momentum and accelerated adoption” it is experiencing during the pandemic. While the platform is commonly used by schools, Kahoot has also been adopted by companies supporting remote workers to help build corporate culture, deliver training and interact with employees.

Kahoot said that it intends to use the net proceeds from SoftBank’s private placement to finance accelerated growth through value-creating, non-organic opportunities, while continuing to build its platform. According to Reuters, Kahoot’s expansion plans could also include mergers or acquisitions.

SoftBank was not previously a shareholder in Kahoot. The start-up’s board emphasised that support from the Japanese investment group will help strengthen its shareholder base, as SoftBank has “deep expertise and experience” owning and developing software companies.

Kahoot claimed to have more than a billion participating players from more than 200 countries using its platform over the last year.

When it announced its latest funding round in June, the company said there were 19m active accounts and 260,000 paid subscriptions, including teachers and professionals. At the time, the company also said it would invest further in research and development, product innovations and strategic expansion.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic