Emerge Education, a young London-based investment firm focused on edtech, has announced the first close of a new fund. Expected to double over the next few months, the fund currently sits at £10 million with investments from Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Assessment, Nesta, Jisc, Brazilian higher education group Grupo Tiradentes, as well as US education industry figures Dan Sommer and Rob Cohen. In the face of a global talent shortage and widening skills gap, Emerge Education aims to fund technology solutions in the $8.5 trillion work skills market. The firm will build a portfolio of startups creating new, tech-based forms of education, training or upskilling, and lifelong learning that are “massively scalable”. The new fund is initially making £250,000 investments in 20-25 pre-seed and seed companies in Europe, with the ability to increase its ticket to £1 million per company in later rounds. Emerge’s founder Jan Lynn-Matern said: “Unlike other funds, 50 percent of our team is fully focused on nurturing our network and extracting valuable insights from the most important groups of customers and partners our portfolio companies serve. In return, we act as an innovation radar for this network. Over 20 of these network members have invested in our fund.” Dan Sommer, founder of Trilogy Education (which was acquired by 2U for $750 million last spring), now runs investment firm 10x Impact. He commented: “I have seen some very interesting startups coming out of Europe recently. At 10x, we are always looking at global education trends which made an investment in Emerge a natural fit.”
Founded five years ago, Emerge has made 55 edtech investments that have garnered over £100 million in funding from VCs such as Local Globe, Stride, Project A, Rethink Education, Learn Capital and Reach Capital. The seed fund's portfolio includes Unibuddy, Aula, Fourth Rev and Sales Impact Academy.