[Funding alert] PlayShifu raises $7 M in Series A from Chiratae, Inventus Capital, BIF and others
Augmented reality technology startup PlayShifu raised Series A funding of $7 million in a funding round led by Chiratae (formerly IDG Ventures India), Inventus Capital and Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF). Existing investor IDFC-Parampara Fund also participated in the round.
Founded in 2016 by Vivek Goyal and Dinesh Advani, graduates of Stanford GSB and IIT Kharagpur, PlayShifu creates engaging and immersive AR experiences for children that encourage early STEM skills.
With the fresh funding, the startup has an aggressive strategic plan in place to expand on its tech prowess, it said in a statement.
Vivek Goyal, CEO and Co-founder of Playshifu, said,
"We have an exhaustive product pipeline, an incessantly creative and passionate team of innovators, and now, the right partners to make an extremely positive impact on the educational foundations of generations to come."
The US and Bengaluru-based startup raised $8.5 million to date, and the company’s primary focus will remain on tech innovation, research on unique phygital interactions and new product developments, it added.
PlayShifu also plans to update its current products significantly and expand the diverse retail presence from 15 countries to 30 countries in 2020 and beyond. At present, the startup has a retail presence in several markets including the US, Canada, UK, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Hong Kong, South Africa, Middle East, and Japan.
PlayShifu's first flagship product Shifu Orboot, is an AR-based globe that promises an adventure around the world. The user base has crossed 250,000 kids worldwide.
The startup claims that in less than a year, teachers and technology integrators from hundreds of schools in the US, Europe, and India discovered PlayShifu and experimented with adopting the innovative products in their tech-friendly classrooms.
"Today, more than 65 percent of these schools use Orboot every week in their classes. With Orboot 2.0 launching soon (student profiles and progress tracking, teachers' portal, detailed lesson plans), this engagement will only increase from here, as PlayShifu prepares to expand its reach in schools by 10x this year," the statement added.
The newest addition, Shifu Plugo, combines physical consoles with new-age digital interactions. The physical consoles bring alive the alphabet, math, engineering, music, steering, and more. With two consoles available today, PlayShifu plans to introduce four more by the end of 2019.
"We now have the tools at our disposal to execute against an even more impactful retail strategy and presence, while we continue to strengthen our position as the segment leader and disruptor in the early learning space," added Dinesh Advani, Co-founder and COO.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)