Technology

Brighteye Ventures sees $54M first close of its second fund to back edtech startups in Europe

Brighteye Ventures, the European edtech VC firm, is announcing the $54 million first close of its second fund, bringing total assets under management to over $112 million.

Backing comes from a mixture of existing and new investors, made up primarily of unnamed international family offices. The fund’s second close is expected to take place next year and will include additional institutional investors.

Founded in 2017, Brighteye describes itself as a thesis-driven fund investing in startups that enhance learning. Unsurprisingly, the VC says it sees an unprecedented opportunity within 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’.

Out of this new fund, Brighteye will invest in 15-20 companies over the next three years at the seed and Series A stage and write cheques of up to $5 million.

“We invest in startups that use technology to directly enable learning, skills acquisition or research as well as companies whose products address structural needs in the education sector,” Alex Spiro Latsis, managing partner at Brighteye Ventures, tells me.

“For example, Zen Educate addresses the systemic issue of teacher supply shortages in the U.K., via an on-demand platform that saves schools money whilst allowing educators to earn more. Litigate is an AI-driven coach and workflow tool improving results for legal associates, while Ironhack, the largest tech bootcamp in Europe and Latin America, gives young professionals the skills needed to enter the innovation economy and connects them to employers with a 90% job placement rate”.

The VC’s investments also includes Ornikar, the online driving school in France and Spain serving more than 1.6 million students; Tandem, the Berlin-based peer-to-peer language learning platform with over 10 million members; and Epic!, a reading platform said to be used in more than 90% of U.S. schools.

“Sector specialisation means that our entire team is devoted to mapping, evaluating and building networks in the learning industry,” adds Spiro Latsis, when asked how Brighteye will compete for edtech deals when many generalist VCs are eyeing up the sector. “We understand what a differentiated approach looks like, can develop conviction quickly and make an offer based on that conviction. Once we invest, portfolio companies benefit from a network that includes not just potential clients and investors but also some of the best performing edtech companies in Europe”.

Meanwhile, Brighteye says it will be expanding its advisory team to support the new fund and expects to grow from three members to 10 within the next 12 months. In addition, 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.