Technology has disrupted many business models and industry sectors massively, making things more accessible and life easier for populations in a larger part of the world. However, it has disrupted education far less than mobility, commerce, and communications. At last, there are three key reasons why edtech (education technology) is making inroads.

  • One is that technology has become more affordable and, thus more widely available, making it easier for people to access educational resources online.
  • Also, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted traditional in-person education and many schools and universities had to accelerate their use and understanding of online learning. This increased demand for edtech.
  • Finally, edtech makes education more accessible and convenient because it allows students to learn from any location that has an internet connection, and to a greater degree they can learn at their own pace. This particularly benefits students with disabilities or with responsibilities for dependents.

On the other side of the coin, the established education centres and authorities have a natural inclination to protect their vested interests and resist change. Many students want the full “university experience” of moving away from parents, meeting similar-minded new friends, and enjoying a whole new lifestyle. Teachers and professors have to master new techniques and new technology to teach online, and resolve intellectual property issues related to online material they create.

Market value

The total edtech market value was estimated at $183.4 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.0% during 2022-2026 to reach $385 billion. 

More than $20 billion was invested in edtech companies in 2021. Looking back on this, a Forbes article published in May 2022, prepared before much of the global downward adjustments of tech company valuations, said: “Edtech (education technology) is booming, and venture capitalists are investing at an unprecedented rate. Even though there aren't hundreds of billions of dollars available yet like with other trends, top edtech startups will likely have access to plenty of capital as VCs look for prime investments.” That VC enthusiasm has been dented severely.

With many investors searching for “the next big thing” in education, it was already tough for smaller edtech companies to compete for VC funding to develop and scale. Numerous startups had used equity crowdfunding, and continue to do so, to provide proof of concept as well as provide necessary investment. Many individual sophisticated investors remain keen to support the edtech sector this way. Here are some examples.

Edtech for children

Edurino is a Munich-based edtech startup that offers a learning app specifically designed for pre-schoolers aged 4 and above. After launching on the back of a crowdfunding campaign in 2021, the two female co-founders went on to raise €3.35 million in February 2022. This is despite female founders generally having a tougher time raising finance. Crowdfunding has been shown to help startups prove traction in the marketplace and overcome gender bias in startup funding.

Edurino’s founders have an aim for their platform to become a holistic learning system for preschool children first, then older school children. Ultimately they want to integrate learning games for creativity, English as a second language, and the basics of coding into their learning platform.

Edurino co-founders Franziska Meyer and Irene Klemm. 

Edtech for teenagers in school

Although not generally regarded as a consumer product, it turns out that education is something that many angel investors are passionate about, said co-founder of the Zzish edtech startup Daisy Hill, in an interview in January 2022. Many of them recognise the huge opportunity and how fast edtech is growing, she added.

Zzish’s core sector is secondary schools. Teachers in 170 countries have used the Zzish app to help manage their classes with greater flexibility to handle students with varied abilities, and over four million learners have used their products. After completing four rounds of equity crowdfunding, Zzish had raised £2.9m, which at the time was more than any other edtech startup in Europe.

Crowdfunding investors can also play a valuable role as brand advocates. Recent easing of cross-border regulations means that investors from multiple countries can easily invest through equity crowdfunding, and investors from 58 countries backed Zzish’s last crowdfunding round.  Daisy Hill says they now have multiple shareholder advocates for their brand and mission in every continent.

Daisy Hill, co-founder and co-CEO of Zzish

Edtech to prepare for employment

Edtech also serves the millions of people who continue learning beyond their years of formal education. is a US-based global climate career platform with a mission to get 100 million people working in climate activities by 2030. In June 2022 it completed seed round funding of $5 million, with participation from notable VCs and more than 150 individuals in the climate community.

It continued with an equity crowdfunding campaign in September 2022, offering individual investors the same terms it had previously agreed with the VCs. The crowdfunding round would contribute to the cost of making thousands of hours of climate education and professional development content freely available on its app and website. Through crowdfunding, it also intended to engage more directly and strengthen bonds with platform end-users at a personal level.

Edtech to help create a personal income stream

The US utobo platform similarly helps “knowledge entrepreneurs” become an online coach to create, teach and sell courses online. Founder, engineer and serial entrepreneur Raj Sahu aims to help craft the future of the education system where learning will be economical, collaborative, intuitive, and fun. It launched on October 2021, and in June 2022 began an equity crowdfunding campaign with a modest minimum target of $25,000 on the Republic platform. It raised almost three times the target amount

Edtech to learn useful skills

The two Learnlife Urban Hubs in Barcelona are equipped to explore carpentry, 3D modelling and printing, music production, electronics, multimedia, science, coding and cooking. Learners of all ages can discover, reinvent and pursue their passions and purpose with authentic learning experiences. Flexible learner commitments range from just one hour a week to fulltime courses. 

Learnlife also provides online courses, and hybrid programmes combining online and offline. This Spanish edtech startup ran an equity crowdfunding campaign and raised €1,267,730.

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