Edutech startup XSEED raises Series B funding led by Verlinvest

9th Dec 2016
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Singapore and Bengaluru-based edutech startup XSEED today raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding in a round led by Belgium-based venture firm Verlinvest. With this round of funding, the team aims to deploy capital to build a world class tech-enabled learning platform for children and schools. Founder and CEO Ashish Rajpal added that they would continue to invest heavily in research and product development.

Ashish Rajpal, with school children
Ashish Rajpal with school children

In April last year, XSEED had acquired the online education and learning management business of Pleolabs for an undisclosed valuation. The team claims to have, over the last few years, almost doubled their size and reach. Ashish says,

“We currently reach one million children, over 3,000 schools and 75,000 re-skilled teachers. We have sharpened our existing know-how in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. We now have significant capability in digitally-enabled learning, which shows real results and will surprise the market.”

XSEED Education is an innovative K-12 startup focused on enhancing school learning with high-quality proprietary curriculum, training, and assessment capability.

Speaking on the investment, Frederic de Mevius, Chairman of the Board of Verlinvest, says that they believe that there is great potential to improve early education in India and that XSEED addresses this need. XSEED is Verlinvest’s first education investment, and Nicholas Cator, Executive Director, will join the company’s board of directors.

The XSEED team adds that they are growing at a rate of 50 percent, and are profitable. Initially, however, the team faced challenges in terms of changing the mindset of the schooling system. They were able to overcome this challenge by developing practical tools to support teachers in the classroom and demonstrating a tangible impact on children’s learning outcomes.

The second challenge they faced was to attract quality talent. “We have been attracted people from high-quality education and business backgrounds by offering them an opportunity to see the impact of their work, work on innovation projects and take on stretch roles,” Ashish says. XSEED now claims to have created an entire category in the education space. “Prior to the current XSEED model, we had tried several others, including training and consulting for schools - our experience shows that they don’t work,” he says.

The team’s immediate goal is to touch 10,000 schools. Their five-year vision is to reach out to 10 million children, with plans to take their work to several countries, while at the same time continuing to strengthen XSEED’s presence in India.

A booming market

The Indian online education sector is expected to touch $40 billion by 2017. A report by IBEF suggests that India is targeting the creation of 500 million skilled workers by 2022. The FDI flow into the sector has been over $1billion between April 2000 and January 2015.

India also has one of the highest growth trajectories in the self-paced e-learning sector at 55 percent.

Last year, several edtech platforms received funding. Fidelity, SAIF and Helion pumped $10 million into online test preparation platform Toppr, while Accel and Tiger Global invested $5 million in online tutoring platform Vedantu. Mayfield, along with Kalaari Capital and Helion Venture Partners, invested $15 million in online certification courses platform Simplilearn.

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