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12 edtech startups to watch, according to VCs

Edtech startups boomed during the pandemic, but VCs think the trend for digital education is here to stay. Here's who they think stands out

By Sophie Zhang

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Robert Nowak

This year, edtech Multiverse made headlines after it raised a $220m Series D round and became the latest of Europe’s edtech startups to hit unicorn status. But it’s not the only edtech shaking things up — $2.4bn was invested in edtech startups in Europe in 2021 — more than double the figure the year before — according to Dealroom.

That was partly driven by Covid, with lockdowns across Europe accelerating the demand for robust online learning tools. But now that classrooms have reopened, which of Europe’s edtechs will use the pandemic as a launchpad for continued growth, rather than a one-off boost to revenue?

We spoke to VCs about the edtechs they’re most excited about, but we had one rule: they couldn’t be portfolio companies.

European edtech startups to watch

VC: Diego Recondo, Robert Nowak and Patricia Draghici, All Iron Ventures

All Iron Ventures is a fund based in Bilbao, Spain, which invests in seed and series A startups across Europe. Earlier this year it announced a €30m fund to invest directly into other European VCs — a separate entity to its direct investment vehicle. Its portfolio includes edtechs such as Ludus, a VR training platform, Preply, a language learning marketplace which connects students and tutors and Lingokids, an educational games platform.

An image of Robert Nowak, investment director at All Iron, which invests in several European edtech startups. He's wearing an ironed blue shirt and smiling
Robert Nowak, investment director at All Iron
  • Study Together

Study Together brings students together to study in a “digital library” setting. It creates a virtual study space where students connect via live chats and video calls, boosting productivity via mutual accountability to help students combat isolation and low motivation. Future product expansions could include tutoring or study notes sharing.

Raised: N/A — bootstrapped
Founded: N/A
Last round: N/A — bootstrapped
Headquartered: Nijmegen, the Netherlands

  • Tomorrow’s Education

Tomorrow’s Education has launched Tomorrow’s University, an online platform that offers cohort-based bachelor’s and master’s-level learning in areas like responsible entrepreneurship, AI and sustainable technologies and greentech. While many universities and programmes aim at digitising traditional lectures, Tomorrow’s University wants to offer a product-led, engaging learning experience focused on relevance and employability in a modern world.

Raised: $5m
Founded: 2020
Last round: 2022
Headquartered: Berlin, Germany

  • Mimo

Mimo acts as a “Duolingo for coding”, offering mobile-first, gamified software development courses. Coding isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, nor does it have to be a complex, steep learning curve for building your skills. Mimo provides a hyper-casual approach to learning how to code.

Raised: $770k
Founded: 2016
Last round: 2017
Headquartered: Vienna, Austria

  • The Village Network (Wioski)

The Village Network (Wioski) aims to act as a platform that enables parents and teachers to set up physical micro-schools for between one and 25 children aged between one and five. Wioski facilitates them to become micro-school owners by providing the tools, content and guidance that helps them navigate the complexities of launching an education business in this space.

Raised: $4.4m
Founded: 2019
Last round: 2022
Headquartered: Warsaw, Poland

  • Vilma

Vilma offers live courses and workshops for seniors. Focusing on the silver economy — older people’s sense of community and willingness to still learn new things — Vilma targets those aiming to learn online through small groups, and offers a diverse catalogue of courses.

Raised: N/A (bootstrapped)
Founded: 2021
Last round: N/A
Headquartered: Barcelona, Spain

VC: Stanislas Pesic and Alexandre Glaser, Educapital

Educapital is a European impact fund dedicated to investing in edtech and future of work startups. The team invests in companies from late seed to Series B, and announced the first closing of a new fund at €100m earlier this year — it’s planning a final close of €150m. The team’s portfolio includes O’clock, a web development education platform, 360Learning, a collaborative learning solution, and Wecandoo, which organises crafts workshops. 

An image of Stanislas Pesic from Educapital, a European VC that invests in future of work and edtech startups. He's wearing a blue shirt and smiling
Stanislas Pesic, Educapital
  • Knowunity

Knowunity is a social learning app for school students. The app leverages user-generated content and a peer-to-peer learning ecosystem to allow users to access revision sheets and flashcards, and share and comment on content posted on the app. A Q&A system, with gamified learning plans and learning analytics, is also integrated into the app to enhance learner engagement. The Berlin-based company recently secured €10m funding to expand to other European geographies.

Raised: $13.2m
Founded: 2020
Last round: 2022
Headquartered: Berlin, Germany

  • Female Invest

Female Invest is a financial education platform for women. Its mission is to close the gender gap by helping everyone to learn about personal finance and start investing. Through its platform, members can access learning content, masterclasses or webinars on personal finance and join an online community of like-minded women from 60+ countries. Based in Denmark, it raised $4.5m after Y Combinator in 2021.

Raised: $6.3m
Founded: 2019
Last round: 2021
Headquartered: Copenhagen, Denmark 

VC: Hege Tollerud, David Guérin and Hannes Aichmayr, Brighteye Ventures

Brighteye Ventures is a specialist edtech fund, which invests in seed and Series A startups across Europe focused on “the best solutions at the intersection of learning, entertainment and creativity”. It announced the first close of its second fund at $54m in 2020. The team’s portfolio includes edtech companies such as Oneday, an audio learning app, Create Academy, a learning platform for interiors, gardening and food, and Yeschef, an online cooking platform and tandem, a peer-to-peer language exchange platform.

David Guérin of Brighteye, which is a specialist VC fund investing in edtech startups
David Guérin, Brighteye
  • Coleap

We have seen a rise in cohort-based learning programmes throughout the past years, and Coleap is at the forefront of this development. The Berlin-based startup enables top creators to build engaging learning communities where they can connect with others to learn and grow together.

Raised: N/A (bootstrapped)
Founded: 2021
Last round: N/A 
Headquartered: Berlin, Germany

  • MerciApp 

Getting all grammar and spelling correct can be tricky, even in one’s mother tongue. And it is especially important for business communication. MerciApp, a French company, has developed a unique spelling and grammar correction technology for the French language that can be used for anything you need in writing. The app also provides learning bits to make lasting improvements.

Raised: $935k
Founded: 2020
Last round: 2021
Headquartered: Paris, France

  • Scrimba 

Scrimba is an online coding school offering affordable courses to self-motivated learners who want to become software developers in six months. By combining asynchronous content, an interactive coding tool and live events, the Oslo-based company democratises access to high-quality coding education. 

Raised: $440k
Founded: 2017
Last round: 2020
Headquartered: Oslo, Norway

  • Vilma

Vilma is a young Spanish edtech startup targeting the growing silver-age market. By offering a large library of courses for people over 50, Vilma enables them to learn a variety of new skills as part of a larger online learning community, and at the same time connects them with like-minded peers.

Raised: N/A (bootstrapped)
Founded: 2021
Last round: N/A
Headquartered: Barcelona, Spain

VC: Jenny Wang, Amit Patel and Tom Costin, Owl Ventures

Owl Ventures is a specialist fund that invests in edtechs around the world. Its portfolio includes startups such as Labster, a virtual lab company and StudySmarter, a platform for life-long learning.

An image of Jenny Wang of Owl Ventures, who has her eye on a number of European edtech startups
Jenny Wang, Owl Ventures
  • Magma Math

Magma Math combines the power of handwriting with the advantages of digitisation by capturing the handwriting of students as they work through a maths problem on a digital device. With Magma, we are excited that students can “show their work” and teachers can see students’ thought process in real-time and provide immediate feedback, refocusing time away from grading to facilitate deeper learning. Teachers also love the ability to showcase different students’ work to demonstrate that there are many ways to approach a maths problem and use it as a teaching moment.

Raised: N/A
Founded: 2015
Last round: N/A
Headquartered: Stockholm, Sweden

  • Codary

Codary is building an edtech platform to teach future generations the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century by taking kids on their first coding adventure via a fun, easy and cohort-based digital learning experience. We love Codary’s gamified approach, which allows young learners to explore coding as a fun afternoon activity and keeps them highly engaged along their coding journey, and potentially lights a spark for a future career.

Raised: N/A
Founded: 2020
Last round: 2020
Headquartered: Berlin, Germany

Sophie Zhang is an editorial assistant at Sifted.

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