Learning EdTech Impact Funds (LEIF)
The Learning EdTech Impact Funds (LEIF) program strengthens the EdTech ecosystem by encouraging greater use of evidence in investment decisions and product development. Through LEIF, we connect researchers to EdTech companies and invest in venture capital funds that commit to the use of evidence.
Even though the use of EdTech has grown rapidly over the past 10-15 years, only a small proportion of EdTech innovations are evaluated for their impact or effectiveness. Evaluation data are generally unavailable to the public, and only a fraction of EdTech companies conduct randomized control trials that are typical in most other industrial sectors. As a result, many EdTech innovations are supplied to schools without any analysis of whether they meet children’s needs. Ineffective and potentially even detrimental technologies are reaching the classroom.
Through LEIF we support EdTech companies to use evidence early on in product development. We also encourage researchers and academics to embrace the new possibilities of evaluating children’s progress offered by technology. We have committed CHF 40 million to encourage more evidence use in EdTech. About CHF 30 million of that is invested in venture capital firms committed to applying research standards to their funding decisions. We also help portfolio companies to meet evidence standards. We are currently working with eight venture capital funds: Brighteye Ventures, Educapital, Learn Capital, New Markets Venture Partners, Reach Capital, Rethink Education, Sparkmind.vc and Owl Ventures. These funds reach over 160 companies across the EdTech sector.
With the other CHF 10 million we are encouraging collaboration between researchers and EdTech companies through the Connecting the EdTech Research Ecosystem (CERES) network. CERES brings together global leaders in computer science, psychology, neuroscience, education, and the EdTech industry to tailor digital learning technologies more effectively to children. The network also addresses growing inequalities in access to digital learning opportunities and trains the next generation of researchers in multiple disciplines across academia and industry. Through the Education Foundations Investing in Systems Transformation (EdFirst) initiative, we convened over 20 foundations and impact investors who are together promoting evidence in EdTech through investments in venture capital funds.
We aim to bridge the divide between science and industry, ensuring that robust evidence drives the development, use, and evaluation of EdTech. We want to ensure that effective use of evidence and data become a priority in EdTech investment decisions. We hope to inform philanthropic and public policy decisions to promote the creation of investment standards that make better use of EdTech data.