London-based Zen Educate, a digital staffing platform for schools and teachers, has raised €6.3 million in the largest ever funding round raised for a teacher recruitment technology business outside of the US. The round was led by Brighteye Ventures, with participation from existing investors including Adjuvo and Nick Hungerford, the founder of online investment platform Nutmeg.
This funding will be used to strengthen Zen Educate’s position in London and grow its presence in Manchester. The online platform works with 10% of schools in London, and over 4,000 teachers. It aims to onboard an additional 2,000 schools and 20,000 teachers, while growing their 20-person team to 60 by year end. It will continue to invest heavily in its ‘match algorithm’ that provides an intelligent matching solution for short and long term roles.
Since launching in 2017, Zen Educate has provided schools & teachers with an online alternative to recruitment agencies, becoming a one-stop shop that solves all of a school’s staffing needs. Schools using the platform have typically made savings of 20-30% on their supply cover costs, which they can access at any time on the platform. According to the startup, it has already saved the education system a total of £600k since its launch, and plans to save schools £2 million by the end of the year.
“UK schools are under an immense amount of financial pressure right now, that’s why we’re committed to cutting down supply cover costs significantly so they can spend more on what matters – the children- not on agency fees,” said Slava Kremerman, co-founder and CEO of Zen Educate. “By removing the middleman, teachers and schools can cover staff absence with ease, reducing uncertainty, increasing wages and saving costs”.
“While our main focus still remains on making sure schools get the best supply teachers possible, this funding will also allow us to grow our long-term hire offering so we can provide a digital solution for every hiring need. We are aiming to save the education system £100 million per annum by 2024, with our smarter approach to recruitment.”
Brighteye Ventures, which is Europe’s largest edtech VC, having closed its first €50 million fund in 2017, will support Zen Educate as it continues to scale its operations.
“This new capital injection is another testament to the strength of the platform and the Zen Educate team,” said Ben Wirz, partner at Brighteye Advisors.
“Until now, the education staffing industry has relied upon inefficient and expensive ‘pen and paper’ practices – teachers and schools alike deserve a solution that’s fit-for-purpose in the 21st century. The team at Zen Educate have incredible insight into the pain points the industry is experiencing and from speaking to schools that use them, it is clear they are solving a real problem for the education system. We’re excited to support them in securing market share as they continue to grow rapidly, and drive network effects across their platform.”