London-based digital staffing platform for schools and teachers Zen Educate has raised £5.6 million in a funding round led by Brighteye Ventures, Europe’s largest education technology VC.
Its existing investors Adjuvo, the UK investment syndicate, and Nick Hungerford, founder of online investment platform Nutmeg, participated in the funding round.
Founded in 2017, Zen Educate provides an online alternative to recruitment agencies solving all of a school’s staffing needs in a stress-free and cost-effective way. It is the only online platform accredited by the UK’s Department of Education. Schools using the platform have reportedly saved 20-30% on their supply cover costs. According to the company, it has already saved the education system a total £600k since its launch, and plans to save schools £2 million by the end of the year.
Zen Educate currently works with 10% of schools in London, and over 4,000 teachers.
Emphasizing strongly on the need to cut down supply cover costs across schools in UK, 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 matter – 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.”
On the funding and its future plans, Kremerman said,
“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 £100 million per annum by 2024, with our smarter approach to recruitment.”
Highlighting the plight of the education staffing industry and lauding the work that Zen Educate team is doing, Ben Wirz, partner at Brighteye Advisors, said,
“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 21st century. The team at Zen Educate has 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.”
Meanwhile, the company plans to use the new funds to strengthen its position in London and grow its presence in Manchester. It aims to bring an additional 2,000 schools and 20,000 teachers onboard and also plans to expand its current team from 20 to 60 by year end. The company will also continue to invest in its ‘match algorithm’ which provides schools and teachers with an intelligent matching solution for short and long term roles.