Europe’s first and largest EdTech VC firm closes second fund
Brighteye Ventures, Europe’s first and largest education technology (edtech) venture capital fund, has announced the $54m first close of its second fund, bringing assets under management to over $112m. Funding for first close comes from a mix of existing and new investors, primarily international Family Offices, with a second close expected in 2021 to accommodate institutional investors.
Founded in 2017, Brighteye Ventures is a thesis-driven fund investing in startups that enhance learning. This second fund launches amid unprecedented opportunity in the $7 trillion global education sector as educators and students are adapting to distance learning en masse and millions of displaced workers are seeking to upskill. Brighteye invests in companies harnessing technology to unlock these opportunities and helps them expand across Europe and North America. With the new funding, Brighteye Ventures will invest in 15-20 companies over the next three years at the seed and Series-A stage and write cheques up to $5m.
Brighteye Advisors, based in Paris and London, is the sole advisor to the fund. Its two partners, Alex Latsis and Benoit Wirz have been building and investing in European and North American edtech startups for over a decade. Leveraging their experience and Brighteye’s growing family of entrepreneurs, the fund has created a valuable network of expertise, funding and industry contacts for the companies in whom it invests and is continuously producing research to help benchmark and advance the industry, such as an overview of the funding landscape, a deep dive into the B2B coaching industry and a survey on the impact of COVID.
Brighteye Ventures was an early investor in Ornikar, the largest online driving school in France serving over 1.6M students, and which just expanded to Spain from France, as well as Tandem, the Berlin-based peer-to-peer language learning platform with over 10m members which recently raised a £4.5M Series A round. Brighteye Ventures current portfolio also includes Zen Educate, the foremost dynamic supply teacher platform in the UK, that has delivered substantial savings to schools and teachers across the UK and Epic! a reading platform present in more than 90% of US schools.
Brighteye will be expanding its Advisory team to support the new fund and expects to grow from three members to ten within the next 12 months. David Guerin has been promoted to Principal to manage deal making and portfolio support in Paris, and the firm expects to open a DACH region presence by summer 2022.
Alex Spiro Latsis, managing partner at Brighteye Advisors, said: “While Brighteye Ventures has long advocated for greater adoption of tech-enabled learning solutions, we scarcely imagined the size of the move that closing 90% of global schools would provoke in Europe, the US and beyond. This has led to massive adoption in the last few months, but the effects will persist. Post-crisis we expect broader awareness of tech enabled learning tools to continue to drive increased adoption as consumers and businesses look to enhance skills through the coming recession and recovery. Brighteye Ventures’ new funding injection will allow us to support the most exciting companies in the market, and ensure our portfolio founders are well-placed to capitalise on the growth potential.”
Benoit Wirz, partner at Brighteye Advisors, said: “People’s need to learn is neither transient nor discretionary, education is necessary for society to function, but the way we learn needs to evolve. Adults face a growing need for reskilling/upskilling in the face of economic turmoil. People - young and old - want to realise their potential via dynamic and relevant learning experiences. At their core, the companies we invest in add value to the learning experience by being cheaper, more engaging, more relevant and more efficient than traditional offerings. Our existing portfolio spans the breadth of learning technology. We can’t wait to partner with a new crop of entrepreneurs helping to match potential with opportunity at scale.”