Zen Educate raises $37 million and acquires Aquinas Education to address teacher shortage

Zen educationan 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 both sides of the pondwith a recent one report from the ADP Research Institute, noting that the global pandemic has exacerbated the existing supply-demand imbalance due to “stagnant wages and a stressful work environment.”

Founded in 2017 in London, Zen Educate is replacing traditional third-party recruitment agencies that often use analog workflows and charge exorbitant fees. Zen Educate digitizes everything through a self-service platform, removing expensive intermediaries from the process. The platform allows teachers and schools to create profiles and Zen Educate can automatically match the two entities based on their compatibility – using data such as proximity, skills, experience and other preferences.

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

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

Moreover, Zen Educate also promises higher wages, as it requires a smaller cut than the established agencies

“The average absorption rate of the established sector is between 35 and 38%,” Kremerman said. “We are at just over half. The result is that teachers earn more and schools save money.”

Zen Educate app
Image credits: Zen education

Expansion

Zen Educate raised a $21 million Series A round in late 2022 in its bid to expand into the US market after a soft launch in Minneapolis. Today, the company operates in four additional states – Texas, Colorado, California and Arizona – in addition to eleven regions in England. And more than 15% of the 300 employees are now based in the US

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

Kremerman also said its technology-based approach has helped it adapt to the different regulatory environment in the US

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

With another $37 million in the bank, the company says it plans to expand into more markets in the US and Britain, and launch new software for school administrators, including expanding its school workforce management software to include credentialing tools, compliance and absenteeism management.

Furthermore, Zen Educate is also strengthening its resources through acquisitions and today announces its second ever acquisition with the purchase of a teacher employment agency Education of Aquinas. The company said it plans to complete several more acquisitions in both the US and the UK

It is striking that Aquinas Education has a former professional footballer who has become a TV presenter Jermaine Jenas as one of the 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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