Brighteye Ventures, Europe’s first and largest education technology (edtech) venture capital firm, today announces the €50 million close of its first fund.

The fund will lead or participate in seed and series A and B rounds for innovative companies using technology to enhance learning and creativity. It will consider companies working across a full range of educational levels, from K-12 to university and beyond. Brighteye Ventures has a global remit, looking to lead investments in Europe and Israel and co-invest alongside smart partners in the US.

The fund has already invested in two companies. Brighteye Ventures participated in the $8 million series C of Epic!, a digital content platform for under 12s, and Lightneer’s $5 million seed round, a learning games studio from Helsinki set up by ex-Rovio executives. Brighteye Ventures is looking to invest between €500,000 and €3 million per round in 20 companies over the next three years.

Brighteye Venture Advisers, based in Paris, is the sole advisory to the fund. Its two partners, Alex Spiro and Benoit Wirz, have previously built and invested in some of the most dynamic companies in the edtech space and both have significant experience and relationships in technology, media and venture capital.

Managing partner Alex Spiro has a proven track record in children’s media, and is co-founder of award-winning children’s publisher Flying Eye Books, leading their TV and film licensing operations, and Minilab Studios, a prominent educational app development studio. Investment partner Benoit Wirz brings nearly 20 years’ experience of developing and investing in edtech, media, enterprise software and other tech companies, most recently at the Knight Foundation. Both founders have a deep passion for the sector and will be looking to support the Fund’s portfolio companies as they scale and grow.

Alex Spiro, managing partner at Brighteye Venture Advisers, said: “Education is a $6tn global annual market that has so far avoided the kind of digital disruption seen in other sectors. With just 2% digital penetration there is a clear market opportunity, and in recent years we have seen an explosion in impressive new companies operating at the intersection of learning, entertainment and the creative arts. Many of these companies are seeking funding and Brighteye is ideally placed to help entrepreneurs scale quickly.”

Benoit Wirz, investment partner at Brighteye Venture Advisers, said: “We think that edtech’s time has come. The European market in particular is maturing. Our analysis shows that digital penetration has increased in educational institutions and at home and the number of new edtech companies being funded annually in Europe has doubled since 2012. We see Brighteye as a truly operational VC, connecting portfolio companies to a network of clients, educators, advisors and investors to amplify their growth. Brighteye has already made two great investments and we’re looking forward to working alongside more of Europe’s most exciting entrepreneurs.”

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