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Norwegian education start-up Kahoot targets Asian expansion

As the Norwegian online education startup, Kahoot launches a “re-IPO” to the main market listing in Oslo, it is looking to use its biggest shareholder SoftBank to crack Asia and is on the hunt for acquisitions.

What is Kahoot and what are its aims

According to chief executive Eilert Hanoa, the online quiz creator for schools, families, and businesses is hoping that a move from Oslo’s junior market to its main list will increase its attractiveness to local and international institutional investors and hence, could seek a secondary listing abroad.

Kahoot also counts Microsoft and Disney as large shareholders. It is currently valued at $6bn. The vast majority of its $45m in invoiced revenue last year came from North America and Europe where Kahoot has become popular in the classroom and for birthday parties at home.

Hanoa said, “Asia is a priority. We need great content, we need partnerships. With SoftBank as a shareholder and their impressive portfolio of companies, we hope there will be opportunities,”.

Kahoot hopes to double its revenues this year and then again to $200m by 2023, as it adds more services to its core quiz app. It recently bought Drops to help with language learning and Whiteboard.fi that gives students their own digital whiteboards. Hanoa also said more acquisitions or joint ventures could help accelerate Kahoot’s growth further.

Kahoot

Current user trends

Teachers, families, and businesses can set up multiple-choice quizzes on Kahoot in which users enter answers through their mobiles or computers. It is free for schools and home users but premium subscriptions with more features and ready-made quizzes can be bought. About 60 percent of its revenues come from companies such as Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, and Nasdaq using it for interactive training and events.

Unorthodox ideas might be the key

Hanoa said he had been impressed by Japan’s SoftBank, which owns 16 percent of Kahoot, and their mixture of using “financial muscle and operational excellence”. He further added: “They have a very clear idea of what they want to achieve. They might be unorthodox in some of their approaches but that might be responsible for their success.”

He added that the number of edtech providers in the world is so much that there was likely to be a wave of acquisitions, with Kahoot hoping to play the role of consolidator due to its reach with 1.5bn players last year. “There might be a need to consolidate these initiatives. For instance, a teacher can’t subscribe to 10 of these services. Probably there will be a consolidation of solutions and ways to consume these services,” he said.

He further stated, “The move to Oslo’s main market which is due to take place later this month, was “definitely an important milestone for us. We believe it’s a great endorsement of the company that we are admitted. But it’s definitely not an end game or a goal in itself.”

Shares in Kahoot climbed 3 percent on Thursday to NKr112 after it announced its move to the main market.

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