Early-stage VC Delin Ventures has closed a new £46m fund targeting future of work, education and learning startups in Europe. In addition to investing in startups in tech and life sciences, the firm has backed VC funds such as Stride and LocalGlobe as a limited partner (LP).
While many SaaS or sector-agnostic firms invest in the future of work, a sector that is broadly understood as tools that make working life easier and more enjoyable, there are few VC funds in Europe dedicated to it.
Iskender Dirik, an entrepreneur and investor who will be managing the new fund, thinks this is a missed opportunity.
“Covid-19 was the trigger for a huge shift in the way we work, making us more independent and remote,” he says.
“There’s huge demand from the workforce for new working models and technologies to help us achieve more in a shorter time.”
Meanwhile, AI is changing the nature of work across many industries, and major economies, such as Germany, are confronted with huge talent shortages. Companies are looking for novel ways to upskill their workforces, and fast, he says.
Delin Ventures’ fund will back pre-seed and seed-stage startups in Europe, with a focus on the UK and the DACH region.
While it is interested in startups that are working on professional development, coaching, talent, remote work and learning, it will not consider companies that seek to sell to students or teachers directly.
“[The fund] will focus mainly on B2B and corporate use cases,” says Dirik.
Ticket sizes will range from £500k-1.5m, and part of the fund will be saved for follow-ons, though the exact percentage has not yet been determined.
Dirik says there are many opportunities offered by AI to enhance learning and development — such as personal AI coaches and tutors — as well as tools to help creators.
For example, there are low-code/no-code tools helping people build online games from home without the need to hire expensive developers. There are also platforms helping people produce their own professional movies without needing specialised training and generate voices for live streams, games and social media.
“There’s an amazing world for creators waiting for us,” says Dirik.
This article has been updated to clarify that the fund is £46m pounds and not €46m, and that the fund is targeting Europe generally, with a focus on DACH and the UK