Online personal counselling platform GrowthEX, which raised angel funding two months ago, has now acquired LeapWired for an undisclosed amount. Although the terms and conditions have not been disclosed, the deal is part-cash and part-acquihire.
Founded in December 2016 by four co-founders, Akshay Bhaskar, Hemanth Bhatia, Pranav Jang Bahadur, and Aditya Goyal, LeapWired is an online counselling platform that connects engineering aspirants all across India with students from the colleges they wish to attend.
Owned by Three Fat Monks Technologies, LeapWired aims to help college students and aspiring professionals make better decisions.
"The acquisition will strengthen our ability to create more engaging internal and customer-facing communities. This would enhance our customer engagement, which already stands at a customer spending more than 31 minutes on the platform on an average, spanning across India, Qatar, Brazil, Nigeria, and Singapore," said Varun Saxena, CEO, GrowthEX.
Why the acquisition?
According to Varun, the objective of the acquisition is the technology and the user experience LeapWired offers counsellors and customers. Moreover, three of LeapWired's four co-founders decided to move to Silicon Valley for better opportunities and hence the better exit for them was to get acquired. The discussion between GrowthEX's Varun and LeapWired's Akshay led to the closing of the deal.
"The LeapWired team gets a cash component and Akshay, who wanted to continue in the online counselling space, is joining our team as a growth hacker,” said Varun.
With the acquisition, GrowthEx now has end-to-end online counselling processes, chats, and audio and video calls in-house, thus helping improve the operating margin by 38 percent.
Varun is an MBA from NITIE Mumbai, and also holds a B.Tech from a premier government institute. He had acquired more than four years of industry experience working with CIOs and CMOs of US and European clients before starting his own venture. He is also the author of a couple of academic books and is a motivational speaker as well.
GrowthEx growing further…
A global platform enabling personal and professional growth through online counselling, programmes, and peer engagement, GrowthEX has more than one lakh users, 5,000 counsellors, and 1,000 programmes. Apart from India, GrowthEX has paying users from countries like Singapore, Qatar, Brazil, and Nigeria. The community boasts of a strong user engagement, with a user spending more than 12 minutes daily on an average on the platform, with a strong 40 percent non-incentivised referral rate.
More than 80 percent of the content distribution is in the form of videos, and 58 percent of the content usage is through mobile. More than 4,00,000 hours of counselling have been provided to users till date. With an employee base of 11, GrowthEX is claimed to be witnessing MoM growth of more than 20 percent.
"We are working towards making personal wellness and online counselling much more scientific and personalised in the days to come. The platform will use the power of data and peer engagement, and leverage predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to come up with proactive solutions for users, which may be used to enrich wellness at all levels," added Varun.
According to an IndiaSpend report, the number of Indians suffering from mental illness exceeds that of the population of South Africa. At present, the mentally ill account for nearly 6.5 percent of the country’s population and it is estimated that by 2020 this number will increase to a staggering 20 percent. Further, the World Health Organisation estimates that nearly 57 million Indians suffer from depression.
Apart from GrowthEx, there are a few startups that are on a similar path of bringing smiles to the faces of mental health patients, namely, YourDost, Type a Thought, ePsyclinic, HealthEminds, and Grow Fit.
As per Varun, the personal wellness and online counselling market in India is expected to cross $3 billion in the next three to four years.