EduKart still up for grabs, makes soft landing after being acqui-hired by Paytm

27th Sep 2016
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Mobile payments and e-commerce platform Paytm on Monday announced the acqui-hiring of edutech startup EduKart.

Confirming the news, Paytm commented that as a part of the deal, the 50-member EduKart team will join them. Ishan Gupta, EduKart's founder and CEO, will be coming on board as Vice President — Business at Paytm, managing the seller ecosystem.

The Edukart team
The Edukart team

However, EduKart is still in talks for a strategic sale of the business separately. This includes the IP and the courses they have built over time. Confirming this was Ishan, who stated,

This is just an acqui-hiring and not an asset sale of the EduKart assets. Therefore, Paytm will not have any hold on EduKart's IP or the products. In fact, EduKart is in its own discussions for a strategic asset sale.

Sources claim that the deal was under talks and closed within the last four months.

Claiming to have more than 10,000 paid students on its platform, the education startup is said to have partnerships with more than 120 course providers and over 2,500 courses are live on their platform.

Not divulging much, Kiran Vasireddy, Senior Vice President, Paytm said,

The team at EduKart has built a unique education services platform in a short time and has an in-depth understanding of customer needs. We welcome the EduKart team to be a part of our journey. This move will further strengthen our efforts to build services faster and drive growth in this sector.

Ishan, who was a part of Paytm’s parent firm, One97 Communications from 2009 to 2011, further stated,

I am super excited to be back at Paytm to build a large bouquet of service offerings for the merchants on Paytm. I am also happy that the strong team of EduKart is now open to new opportunities as a part of that journey.

Incidentally, founder of One97 Communications, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, was also the first investor of EduKart and is on the board of the company. 

Yuvraj Singh with Ishan Gupta(Founder - Edukart)
Yuvraj Singh with Ishan Gupta(Founder - Edukart)

Until now, the firm has raised $2 million across three rounds of funding including Holostik Group’s United Finsec (family office arm), Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Ventures, and 500 Startups.

Other angel investors in the firm also include Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Manish Kheterpal, Amit and Arihant Patni, and Stanford Business School’s alumni angels.

During the last round of funding in June 2015, EduKart was aiming for 5x growth, while looking to drive gross enrolment sales of over $100 million for its course providers by enrolling over 1,00,000 students annually in the next three years.

In December 2014, the news came out that co-founder Mayank Gupta had quit the business to join online electronics marketplace Zopper.

Amongst the edutech players, Byju's recently mopped up a heavy round of $50 million in funding earlier this month. In a similar space, Simplilearn, which focuses more on certification of professionals, is also reported to have raised $28 million in funding until now.

However, one cannot deny the funding crunch in the edutech space, making this deal just a soft landing for EduKart.

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