Turnitin into Be Acquired By Advance Publications 4 $1.75BEdSurge #Advance_PublicationsMay 15, 2019
Turnitin , an Oakland, Calif.-based developer of software that uses artificial intelligence to scan students’ writing and code assignments to check for plagiarism, will be acquired by Advance Publications , a media conglomerate that also owns Condé Nast.
Founded in 1998 by four university students, iParadigms, Turnitin’s previous parent company, launched with a vision to offer tools across different industries, from law to education and technology.
In 2018 it acquired a competitor in VeriCite , along with Gradescope , a Berkeley, Calif.-based software company that offers AI-assisted grading tools.
According to Caren, the company brought in “well over $100 million but less than $200 million” in revenue for 2018, a number that has been growing around 15 percent year over year, for the last five years.
“My understanding is that Advance Publications has been considering transforming themselves from a traditional media company into an education technology company for the past few years.”
Christopher Nyren, founder of education industry advisory and seed investment firm Educated Ventures, was surprised by the size of the deal.
“Turnitin is a great acquisition for Advance Publications, which has only invested in partial stakes in edtech companies in the past,” said Mary Jo Zandy, managing director at Berkery Noyes, an investment bank that also advises on mergers and acquisitions (but not on this one).
The company has seen the most growth in the U.K. and Australia, and will be focusing on expanding in India, Latin America and the Middle East.
Turnitin is also planning to extend its grading and plagiarism tools beyond writing and into science and math fields, Caren added.
But Berman also acknowledges that the tool has supporters among educators looking to cut down on grading time.