Twenty years ago, almost everyone wanted to invest in health. Today, another sector is on the rise: education and even more so education technologies, with a global market estimated at more than 500 billion dollars by 2025. It is in this context that was created in 2017, the Educapital fund, on the initiative of two French women, Marie-Christine Levet and Litzie Maarek.
How digital is changing schools
After investing in 22 young European companies “who reinvent the way we learn, train and work”, Educapital has just carried out a new round of fundraising, to the tune of 100 million euros. With the objective of a new threshold, at 150 million euros, by the next school year.
The investment fund financially supports start-ups at various stages of growth: some have just germinated, others are already beginning their development abroad. It supports projects from early childhood to lifelong learning.
Virtual reality and serious games
Among the companies that have benefited from its funding, we find in particular Labster (virtual laboratories for language learning), Preply (online language course marketplace), Lunii (audio story boxes) and 360Learning (vocational training). .
→ READ. Listening to story boxes
“Innovation makes quality education accessible to as many people as possible”boasts Marie-Christine Levet, the president and co-founder of Educapital. “It also makes it possible to personalize this education, thanks to data and artificial intelligence. It also makes it more immersive through virtual reality and serious games.Clearly, it offers an adaptation to the uses of younger generations. »
As Marie-Christine Levet points out, the health crisis served as an accelerator. “We gained five to ten years in usage. And we became aware of the delay to catch up, of the issues that are ours, “ does she observe. And to cite in particular the growing shortage of teachers almost everywhere in the world and the need to fill the “skills gap” which explains the coexistence, in France, of a high unemployment rate with more than 100,000 unfilled jobs.
“Better deal with the American or Chinese giants”
Among the contributors to this fund, which aims to combine financial performance and social utility, the public investment bank BPIfrance, intervening on its own financing, the State – as part of its France 2030 strategy –, Hachette Livre, BNP Paribas Innovation or even Matmut, as well as two foundations (Jacobs, Education for the Many).
The Bayard group, publisher of The crossis also one of the investors, up to 5 million euros. “It’s about federating and multiplying investments at the crossroads of digital and education”, comments Pascal Ruffenach, the chairman of its executive board. “This collective approach should make it possible to obtain a leverage effect. It contributes to structuring this very promising sector, on the scale of France and Europe, to better face the American or Chinese giants”, he greets.