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A SoftBank-backed education start-up could be Europe’s first major tech IPO in 2021

  • Kahoot is a game-based online learning service that lets players create and engage in multiple-choice quizzes.
  • The firm is listed on Oslo's Euronext Growth exchange but is now planning a full listing on the main Norwegian stock market.
  • It's backed by the likes of SoftBank, Microsoft and Disney, as well as venture capital firms Creandum and Northzone.

Brothers learning at homeVesnaandjic | E+ | Getty Images

LONDON — Online education company Kahoot is "on track" to list on the main Norwegian stock market by the end of March, its CEO told CNBC, after a pandemic-driven boom in digital learning helped the firm post strong growth in 2020.

Kahoot, which is based in Oslo, is a game-based online learning service that lets players create and engage in multiple-choice quizzes. Founded in 2012, the company has over 24 million active users and is backed by the likes of SoftBank, Microsoft and Disney. It makes money from paid subscriptions.

The firm is listed on Oslo's Euronext Growth market, a route for smaller Norwegian companies seeking a broader initial public offering. Its shares have risen more than 400% year-over-year on the back of rising demand for remote learning linked with coronavirus restrictions.

"We are transitioning to the main listing on the stock exchange at the end of this quarter, that's the plan," Kahoot CEO Eilert Hanoa told CNBC in an interview Tuesday. He added that Kahoot hopes to reach a larger audience of investors with a full IPO.

Kahoot racked up revenues of $45.2 million in 2020, up 247% from the $13 million it reported the previous year. Kahoot said it expects fourth-quarter profit to come in at $1 million, excluding stock-based compensation, related payroll taxes and acquisition costs. The firm is forecasting 2021 revenues of between $90 million and $100 million.

With a market value of around $5.7 billion, Kahoot is one of Europe's most valuable educational technology, or edtech, companies. It competes with Canada's SMARTeacher Inc, which publishes the popular online math game Prodigy.

Kahoot could be one of the first major European tech unicorns to go public this year if it hits its goal of listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange in the first quarter. 2020 marked a quieter year for Europe's tech IPO market, with big U.S. listings from the likes of Airbnb, Palantir and DoorDash stealing the limelight.

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