Zen Educate, the leading digital staffing platform for schools and teachers, announced on Tuesday that it has raised £5.6m of funding led by Brighteye Ventures, Europe’s largest EdTech VC, with participation from existing investors including Adjuvo, the UK investment syndicate, and Nick Hungerford, the founder of online investment platform Nutmeg.
This funding will be used to cement Zen Educate’s position in London and grow its footprint 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 into its market leading ‘match algorithm’ that provides an intelligent matching solution for short and long term roles.
Since its launch 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, in a stress-free and cost-effective way. It is the only online platform accredited by the DfE Supply Teacher Framework. 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. Zen Educate has already saved the education system a total of £600k since its launch, and plans to save schools £2m by the end of the year.
Slava Kremerman, co-founder and CEO of Zen Educate said, “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. 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 holistic digital solution for every hiring need. We are aiming to save the education system £100m per annum by 2024, with our smarter approach to recruitment.”
Brighteye Ventures, which is Europe’s first and largest EdTech VC having closed its first €50m fund in 2017, will be supporting Zen Educate as it continues to scale its operations.
Ben Wirz, partner at Brighteye Advisors added, “This new capital injection is another testament to the strength of the platform and the Zen Educate team.
“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 21stcentury. 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.”
This is the largest ever funding round raised for a teacher recruitment technology business outside of the US.