May Edition of the X Report
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In this month's X Report, Educate! discusses the informal economy and the disparities within today’s global job market. We share news on the EdTechX Summit and explore the Metaverse in education. Each month we share a snapshot of key trends, showcase the stars of today and tomorrow, offer our insight on mergers, acquisitions and fundraising, as well as providing some further food for thought.

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Preparing Youth for the Lucrative Informal Economy
Megan Vander Velde, Educate!

Illicit. Underground. Noncompliant. These are some of the stigmas surrounding the words “informal economy,” but in a world where 61% of workers earn their living through informal employment, these words, along with many other misconceptions, don’t paint an accurate picture.

The organization Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) defines the informal economy as the “diversified set of economic activities, enterprises, jobs, and workers that are not regulated or protected by the state.” Think, for example, street vendors, motorcycle couriers, and domestic workers. For those who are unable to access formal job opportunities, or in countries where very few exist, the informal economy plays a pivotal role in supporting livelihoods.

In fact, 95% of African youth ages 15-24 work in an informal setting, compared to less than 50% of youth in the Americas, Europe, and Central Asia. With high rates of unemployment, even among university graduates, it’s no wonder that many young people find themselves entering the informal workforce as means of securing an income. Furthermore, these jobs have economic implications beyond the individual level. In some African countries, the informal economy contributes between 25 and 65 percent of their GDP. These statistics alone shed new light on the disparities that exist within today’s global job market.

By recognizing the distinct realities facing young people entering the workforce around the world, we are able to focus our attention on the following question: How can we best prepare youth for a meaningful future, regardless of their geographic location?

Whether incorporated into individual schools, national education systems, or Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs, a few key components are essential in developing solutions towards this goal.

  1. Youth must be put first. Successful solutions internalize young people's diverse social contexts, center them within their design, and are further strengthened through an intentional focus on building support networks.

  2. In addition to job-specific skills, youth need a strong foundation of soft and transferable skills that ultimately allow them to sustain momentum and adapt to ever changing circumstances.

  3. Gender-responsive practices and equitable access should be at the forefront of conversations about today’s workforce, ensuring that young men and women have opportunities to learn and lead side by side.

At Educate!, we have seen youth emerge from learning experiences built upon these principles with the 21st-century skills needed to thrive — whether that’s obtaining further education, starting a business, overcoming gender barriers, driving development within their communities, or a combination of the above. As described by Jonathan, a Ugandan Educate! participant, youth mentor, and rising entrepreneur, “I learned to embrace change and apply means of problem-solving in every situation I am faced with.”

As the world continues to evolve, further complicated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must cast aside preconceived notions about today’s economy and actively pursue pathways that support youth in building the competencies and mindsets to better their life outcomes and pursue their goals in any setting: formal or informal.


Educate! prepares youth in Africa with the skills to succeed in today’s economy. Since 2009, we have partnered with youth, schools, and governments in Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya, and are now the biggest youth skills provider in East Africa. Our ultimate vision is to design evidence-based solutions that measurably impact millions of youth across Africa each year.SectionDividersPurple

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EdTechX Returns to Live

On 23rd June this year, the annual EdTechX Summit is returning for its first in-person event since 2019. The events industry was one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, and while we continued to deliver events virtually, there is no denying that the interaction, community, and connection a live event offers simply cannot be replicated in a digital environment.

The first ever EdTechX event, ‘EdTech Europe’, was hosted in June 2013 with the mission to “connect the ecosystem within Europe and abroad, to bring forth the future edtech champions and promote the region’s success stories.”1 Originally, the event was to be held at London Business School in a room that catered for 60 people. But after an unforeseen 120 ticket sales, we had to relocate to a bigger hall. This was the Royal Institute of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, a venue which surprised many of the attendees!

Since then, EdTechX has grown both in importance and size, recognised today as the largest thought leadership summit in Europe connecting the global learning community of investors, corporates, entrepreneurs, government officials, educators and industry influencers, making it a truly diverse and unique collective.

For this year’s return to live, we are more determined than ever to give our attendees the great experience they deserve after two long years of lockdowns and restrictions. We understand how ‘zoom fatigue’ has led to a craving for in-person interactions. In fact, psychological research supports the importance of face-to-face connections, indicating that body language and tone of voice are critical for impactful communication, rather than the words themselves. A recent Bizzabo study also revealed that 85% of those in leadership roles believe in-person events are essential to their company’s success.

In addition to bringing you another action-packed agenda of speakers and industry leaders, the EdTechX Summit will include some exciting new features, including our International Pavilions showcasing start-ups from across the globe, co-working spaces and meeting rooms available to hire, and ‘Braindates’ providing collaborative learning opportunities to brainstorm, solve challenges, share expertise or experiences, and make new connections. We are also thrilled with our striking new event space, Tobacco Dock, which will allow us to enhance the EdTechX experience even more.

So, join us in June to reconnect with the global learning community in person at the EdTechX Summit and London EdTech Week. Ideas, inspiration and connections - these are just some of the benefits of attending. To join us, click HERE.

1 Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, CEO & Co-Founder of EdtechX, Partner at IBIS Capital


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Education market round up
EdSurge - Covid vaccines
World Economic Forum - Quantum
Campus Technology - Educause report
Work market round up
EdSurge - Alternative credentials
World Economic Forum - Work Gender Gap
BBC Worklife - Upskilling
investment market round up
Education Technology - Research-led EdTech
Nasdaq - M&A
AWS - EdTech Trends
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M&A Highlights
M&A Activity >
M&A - YellowFolder M&A - Coorpacademy
M&A - Foundry 45



Source: S&P Capital IQ

Significant Fundraising Activity >
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Valuation Benchmarks

The Metaverse in Education - Market Size & Activity

Key Points

In recent months, there has been much buzz amongst investor communities and technology companies surrounding the metaverse – a network of 3D worlds focused on social connection. With a total addressable market of over $8 trillion in the US alone, this digital environment is set to influence multiple sectors. Of particular interest is the link between the metaverse and education, which accounts for $252 million of the metaverse’s US TAM. The potential role of the metaverse in education raises hopes and some concerns, as it is set to change pedagogical practices and student experiences. The metaverse creates a comfortable digital environment for classes, research, experiments and projects. All of these activities can happen in real-time, allowing students and instructors to interact in the same virtual space. On the other hand, there is a risk that traditionally high hardware price points combined with training requirements may result in this opportunity not being easily accessible to all, exacerbating education inequality globally.

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The integration of the metaverse with the education sector is largely tied to the increased use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Expenditure on these technologies in the global education market is expected to grow from $1.8 billion in 2018 to $12.6 billion in 2025, at a CAGR of 32%. The metaverse enables students to create and visit a virtual world where they can interact in the form of avatars and digital characters while performing various activities. Facebook Reality Labs recently announced that it will invest $150 million in VR learning experiences. The funds will be used to assist with tech development and to educate and train people in using AR and VR tools. In addition to this, large corporates such as Walmart are turning to VR startups for enterprise solutions such as employee training. Immersive learning experiences are set to transform the way in which we learn, and going forward, we are likely to see increased venture capital interest combined with continued investments from prominent tech players.

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The extended reality* industry is still in its infancy, and market activity has largely consisted of seed and Series A funding to date. In 2020, 220 financing events occurred, with 54 strategic investments and 38 M&A deals being recorded. Educational institutions accounted for 24.3% of financing and M&A distribution in the VR/AR application field, highlighting the growing presence of digital learning experiences and ultimately the embedding of the metaverse within the education sector. Facebook’s name change to Meta in late October 2021 may act as a further catalyst for sector activity and encourage a pipeline of larger funding rounds in 2022.

The metaverse offers endless opportunities to create innovative learning elements. Through AR and VR technologies, it has the potential to accelerate learning and rebuild traditional curriculums, creating a richer learning experience for students. However, the metaverse is still in its development stage and questions surrounding its role in education remain. Despite this, strong investor intrigue is set to trigger further venture capital inflows and robust market activity. This is an exciting space to watch, as it is set to drastically alter the way in which we learn over the next decade.

*an umbrella term for AR, VR & Mixed Reality (MR)

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