Bloomberg Law
Nov. 1, 2021, 9:31 AMUpdated: Nov. 2, 2021, 3:42 PM

Google, Reddit Alum Joins Prosus as New EdTech GC (Correct)

Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter

Prosus NV, a Dutch e-commerce giant investing billions of dollars into education technology, has hired veteran attorney Melissa Tidwell to be a top lawyer.

Tidwell joined Amsterdam-based Prosus in August as global general counsel for its edtech segment. She’s a former general counsel for Reddit Inc. and also spent nearly eight years in-house at Google LLC.

Tidwell left Reddit, whose current general counsel is Benjamin Lee, more than two years ago after the news aggregation and discussion website recruited her from a senior counsel role at Google in 2015. Prior to Google, Tidwell was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton and Morrison & Foerster.

Bloomberg News has reported this year on several big deals struck by Prosus, which was spun out in 2019 from South African technology giant Naspers Ltd. In June, Prosus agreed to pay $1.8 billion to buy Stack Overflow Internet Services Inc., a privately held online learning community for software developers.

Prosus has also invested in Brainly Inc., a Boston-based online learning platform that in September hired Denise Ho from SoftBank Investment Advisers Inc. to be its first-ever general counsel and head of corporate development.

Prosus spokeswoman Jill Williams said that Tidwell reports to Larry Illg, CEO for the company’s edtech, food delivery, and ventures division. Williams said Tidwell also has a “dotted line” to David Tudor, a South African lawyer serving as group general counsel for Prosus. Tudor and Tidwell didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Megan McIlroy, a spokeswoman for New York-based online learning startup Skillshare Inc., also told Bloomberg Law that the company hired its first-ever general counsel in September in Jayshree Mahtani.

Mahtani most recently served as general counsel for General Assembly Space Inc., a privately held, for-profit education company. A spokeswoman for General Assembly said its currently working to line up a replacement for Mahtani, who joined the company last year after serving as a deputy general counsel at Shutterstock Inc.

More EdTech Additions

Prosus and Skillshare are the latest in a series of companies in the edtech arena to onboard a top in-house lawyer as business needs expand.

India’s Byju’s also has a new global general counsel in Aaron Kornblum. Byju’s is an online education pioneer that Bloomberg News reported in September was mulling an initial public offering of up to $600 million after making a series of acquisitions of potential rivals to expand its offerings.

The Seattle-based lawyer began working earlier this year for Whitehat Education Technology LLC, an online coding and math platform for students now known as Byju’s FutureSchool after Byju’s paid $300 million to buy the business last year.

Kornblum, who spent 14 years at Microsoft Corp., most recently was general counsel for video game companies Improbable Worlds Ltd. and Bungie Inc. His new role as Byju’s global legal chief was first reported in late October by Corporate Counsel.

PowerSchool Holdings Inc., an educational software provider that raised more than $700 million through an IPO in July, subsequently brought on Michael Bisignano to be its new legal chief.

Bisignano, a former top lawyer at education software maker Blackboard Inc., which was sold to a private equity buyer in 2011, most recently was general counsel for pest control services provider Terminix Global Holdings Inc.

Terminix and Bisignano parted ways in January. Bisignano said via email that he joined PowerSchool as of Aug. 1, adding that he was excited to join the team at his new employer as it prepares for the “next phase of its lifecycle as a public company.”

PowerSchool’s IPO generated $4 million in legal fees and expenses for its lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis, according to securities filings. The company had been backed by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, a longtime Kirkland client.

As for Blackboard, Bisignano’s former scholastic employer, it recently agreed to a nearly $1 billion merger with another online education company.

(Corrects spelling of Byju's name in paragraphs 10-12 of article published Nov. 1.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at;
John Hughes in Washington at