News

BESA and Founders Exchange Ltd (FEL) form joint venture for EdTech Exchange

Joint Venture will be Europe’s Largest Community of Education Technology (EdTech) Entrepreneurs

  • BESA, which represents almost 400 UK education suppliers, and FEL to combine forces in a formal joint venture to create an unparalleled, international network of EdTech founders.
  • Bett Show founders BESA to take on the operational running and expansion of EdTech Exchange, with EdTech Exchange co-founder George Burgess becoming Chair of the Board.
  • Joint venture a unique opportunity for EdTech entrepreneurs and investors to share best practice through peer-to-peer learning.
  • EdTech is a c.$160bn global market growing at c.13% p.a. (PwC), with the UK market also poised to expand for the first time in three years.

London, UK:

The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) and Founders Exchange Ltd (FEL) today announced a new joint venture to run EdTech Exchange, which will be the largest European network of EdTech entrepreneurs.

EdTech Exchange was started by FEL in 2014 and provides members with mentoring, support and a programme of events designed to share best practice through peer-to-peer learning. The Exchange brings together like-minded EdTech entrepreneurs, encouraging them to exchange ideas, swap war stories and share advice with their peers. It is solely for founders of EdTech companies who have raised at least £100,000 in financing or revenue, with many members having raised significantly more. 

EdTech Exchange Ltd will be a 50/50 Joint Venture between BESA and FEL, with George Burgess, who co-founded the Exchange in 2014 becoming Chair of the Board. He will be joined on the board by BESA’s Director General, Caroline Wright, and Director, Patrick Hayes.

George Burgess said: “EdTech Exchange started four years ago with a small group of founders having dinner in a pub. Today it is one of the most influential EdTech groups in the UK. Our mission is to support, represent and connect the EdTech community and combining our efforts with BESA will enable us to do this even more effectively at scale.”

Caroline Wright, Director General of BESA, who is joining the EdTech Exchange board, said: “Not only is the UK’s EdTech sector world-leading in terms of its products and services, it is also unparalleled in terms of its level of collaboration to develop initiatives that have a transformative nature in classrooms across the globe. In our celebration of idea-sharing and networking, BESA and Founders Exchange are kindred spirits and are brilliantly positioned to partner to make EdTech Exchange an international community of EdTech founders that is unrivalled in its scale or influence.”

BESA will take on the operational running of EdTech Exchange, overseen by Director Patrick Hayes. Hayes said: “With EdTech Exchange, George Burgess has created something incredibly special. Over the coming months, our team are looking forward to working with him to scale the number of EdTech Exchange events and opportunities for founders to meet and share ideas in venues around the world. Whether in America, China or – of course – the UK, we will be sure to maintain the same unique spirit and buzzy atmosphere of collaboration and idea-sharing that EdTech founders love about the Exchange.

“The Joint Venture was made possible through the fantastic support and expertise of our legal teams, Ward Hadaway – acting for BESA – and JagShaw Baker – acting on behalf of Founders Exchange Limited. On behalf of the board, we would like to express our thanks for making this possible.”

Frank Suttie, a Partner in the Commercial team at Ward Hadaway, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support BESA on the development of this joint venture which represents a commitment by our clients to support the further development of the organisation.

“The UK is one of the most active countries for innovation within education and this is an exciting development for everyone concerned.”

Tina Baker, co-founder and partner of JAG Shaw Baker, said: “It has been a great pleasure for our team to be involved with EdTech exchange and to be able to help them create this meaningful partnership and to create this much-needed network of European EdTech entrepreneurs.”

“It’s important to support education initiatives of every kind and set a precedent that will impact not only this growing entrepreneurial community but the thousands of people that will benefit from the technology and services that can emerge from that community.”

The announcement about EdTech Exchange was made today at the Bett Show, London.

Notes to editors:

BESA’s directors and EdTech Exchange Chair are available for comment. To discuss this story further, contact: Cleo Fatoorehchi cleo@besa.org.uk / +44(0)794 056 2530

About BESA:

BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, is the trade association covering the entirety of the UK educational suppliers sector. It operates on a not-for-profit basis, and is accountable to an Executive Council that is elected by member companies.

It has an 85-year heritage serving the UK education sector, and represents over 400 educational suppliers in the UK, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and EdTech to the education market. In 1985, BESA founded the Bett Show, which is now the world’s largest EdTech exhibition.

BESA has a Code of Practice to which all members must adhere, along with a stringent membership process, both of which assure schools of a high standard of quality.

For more information, visit: www.besa.org.uk

About EdTech Exchange Limited:

EdTech Exchange is Europe’s largest community of EdTech founders and provides members with mentoring, support and a programme of events designed to share best practice through peer-to-peer learning. The Exchange brings together like-minded EdTech entrepreneurs, encouraging them to exchange ideas, swap war stories and share advice with their peers

The Exchange was initiated by George Burgess, Founder and CEO of Gojimo, and Justin Smith, Founder and CEO of the Educational App Store, in 2014. It is solely for founders of EdTech companies who have raised at least £100,000 in financing or revenue, with many members having raised significantly more.