Zen Educate Raises $37M, Acquires Aquinas Education as It Tries to Address Teacher Shortage

Zen Educate, an online marketplace that connects schools with teachers, has raised $37 million in a Series B funding round.

The increase comes amid a growing teacher shortage crisis on both sides of the pond, with a recent report from the ADP Research Institute noting that the global pandemic exacerbated the existing imbalance between supply and demand due to “stagnant salaries and an environment stressful work.”

Founded in London in 2017, Zen Educate replaces traditional third-party recruitment agencies that often use analogue workflows and charge exorbitant fees. Zen Educate digitizes everything through a self-service platform, removing costly middlemen from the equation in the process. Through the platform, teachers and schools create profiles and Zen Educate can automatically match the two entities based on their compatibility; This uses data such as proximity, skills, experience, among other preferences.

Schools can use Zen Educate to recruit for full-time positions, but teachers can also use it to more easily find temporary or part-time positions that fit their lives.

“As in all areas, educators are looking for greater flexibility in their work and therefore there is a greater need for flexible work solutions in education like Zen Educate,” Zen Educate co-founder and CEO told TechCrunch, Slava Kremerman.

On top of that, Zen Educate also promises higher salaries as it requires a smaller cut than existing agencies.

“The current industry average acceptance rate is between 35% and 38%,” Kremerman said. “We are a little more than half. As a result, teachers earn more and schools save money.”

Zen Educate app
Image credits: Educate Zen

Expansion

Zen Educate raised a $21 million Series A round in late 2022 as it looked to expand into the US market after soft-launching in Minneapolis. The company currently operates in four additional states (Texas, Colorado, California and Arizona) as well as 11 regions in England. And more than 15% of its 300 workers are now in the US.

“Since the soft launch in Minneapolis, we are now the second largest provider in the state,” Kremerman said. “We live in five states and work with nine of the 200 largest school districts in the US.”

Kremerman also said his technology-based approach has helped him adapt to the different regulatory environment in the US.

“Licensing is state-specific, whereas England and Wales have a standardized national standard,” Kremerman said. “We can use our credentialing technology to adapt and deploy quickly across states, while most traditional staffing companies struggle with this.”

With another $37 million in the bank, the company said it plans to expand into more markets in the US and UK, and launch new software for school administrators, including adding to its school workforce management software which includes tools for accreditation, compliance and absence management.

Additionally, Zen Educate is also bolstering its resources through acquisitions, announcing today its second acquisition with the purchase of teaching staffing agency Aquinas Education. The company said it intends to complete several more acquisitions in both the US and the UK.

Notably, Aquinas Education counts former professional footballer turned TV presenter Jermaine Jenas as one of its owners and following this acquisition, Jenas now joins Zen Educate as a brand ambassador.

Zen Educate’s Series B round was led by Round2 Capital, with participation from Adjuvo, Brighteye Ventures, FJ Labs, Ascension Ventures, and several angels.

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