The classic formula that VCs hunt for are exceptional teams leveraging technology to address huge opportunities.
At Brighteye, we first got excited about the opportunity in substitute teaching (aka supply teaching) in 2018 after doing a deep dive on the sector and realizing that placing relevant teachers into classrooms on a temporary basis was an unsolved and expensive problem impacting learning around the world and representing a small but significant portion of the roughly $2 trillion spent annually on teacher pay.
When Alex and I first sat down with Slava and Oren at the BETT education conference in 2019, we knew we had met the team that was going to solve that problem. Though they were just covering London at the time, they were well ahead of anyone else in Europe in both their approach and their ambition, and the team had the rare combination of competence, caring, persistence and charisma that inspires investors and employees alike.
After quickly aligning with the team around their vision, we were thrilled to lead their Series A in June, 2019. Since then, it has been a real privilege to support them, providing additional capital and helping to analyze new markets, as Zen has continued to thrive, growing despite school shutdowns in 2020-21 to cover major cities and additional verticals across the UK and expanding earlier this year to the US.
At its core, Zen is a simple product, automating the process of finding the right teacher at the right time, while saving schools money and paying educators more in the process. The power of getting that service right compounds over time as more schools and teachers join the platform. To date, the company has saved schools in the UK more than £10M, and with their incredible team and momentum, they’re just getting started.
Can’t wait for what’s next.
Congratulations, again, Slava, Oren and team!
Image credit: ZenEducate