EdTech Venture Capital: A Q&A with Hannes Aichmayr, Associate at Brighteye Ventures

March 20, 2022

In this Q&A article, Hannes Aichmayr provides his thoughts on how the EdTech venture capital market has evolved in recent years.

EdTech Venture Capital A Q&A with Hannes Aichmayr, EdTech Investor at Brighteye Ventures

Hi Hannes, please can you introduce yourself?

Hi Ronan! And of course: I am currently based in Paris and work as an Associate for Brighteye, Europe’s most active EdTech focused VC fund. My academic background is in economics, and I started my professional career in management consulting but looking for a more impactful career path joined Teach for All and worked as a math teacher for 2 years in a middle school in Vienna. During that time, I also fell in love with the field of education and the transformational power of EdTech. That’s why I then did a master’s degree in Education. Previously, I have also been responsible for the digital education projects of Europe’s largest operative foundation and built an EdTech incubator for the Austrian Government.

You have recently transitioned from EdTech Austria to working for Brighteye Ventures – can you let us know what motivated the change?

During my work with EdTech Austria I have really been focused on community building and working with a wide range of stakeholders from startups to large corporates as well as many government institutions. In the process, it just became clear to me that what I love most is working with and supporting startups in a fast-paced environment. As the most active EdTech Venture Capital in Europe with a great team and an amazing portfolio of companies, Brighteye is just the perfect place to do exactly that.

Do you think the outlook for EdTech throughout 2022 is positive and what regions will prosper the most in your opinion?

In short: Yes. Even despite the saddening geopolitical circumstances and an ongoing pandemic which we will hopefully have to worry much less about in the months to come, our outlook is still positive. We see a market that is slowly but surely establishing itself while still lagging behind many other sectors when it comes to digitization. Thus, the market holds a multitude of exciting opportunities for innovative founders. We also see more and more geographies with great EdTech companies raising large funding rounds, and so I would point to specific regions, but rather say that Europe will continue to win ground compared to historically more active markets like the US, India, or China.

Talking about specific verticals within the field of EdTech, from a pedagogical perspective, we see a strong trend towards so-called “community-based learning” approaches. Learning is and will remain a strongly social process and attempts are being made to develop models that focus on active exchange with like-minded people to improve learning success and increase completion rates, which are generally lower in online learning.

From a technological perspective, artificial intelligence remains a major topic in terms of individualizing learning experiences, and parallel to the rise of podcasts, we are also seeing more and more start-ups choosing audio as the primary delivery method for learning content.

In terms of target groups, we see a huge need for the digitization of tertiary education and the re-skilling and upskilling of workers. Exciting models will certainly emerge in the next few years, which will offer access to high-quality digital education to those groups that have largely been left behind so far.

How has the European EdTech venture capital market evolved the last few years?

At the beginning of the year, we published our European EdTech Funding Report 2022 with many exciting trends and figures. If we look at the venture capital invested in EdTech startups alone, one record year follows the next. Last year, 20.1 billion US dollars were invested, five billion more than in 2020 and six times more than in 2014. Europe now ranks third behind the USA and India. In addition, we also see that the market environment is maturing. Five EdTech unicorns went public last year and while the absolute number of investments has decreased, the average amount invested has risen sharply. Additionally, this growth was not restricted to the usual geographies any longer: Six European markets raised more than $100 million in 2021, compared to only one in 2020.