E-education is flavour of the month: 7 startups rake in the moolah
From distance education to cultural preservation, digital platforms are transforming the way learning is visualised and presented, with wide-ranging implications for publication of educational content, access by users around the world, and business models for sustainable social impact.
According to a research conducted by KPMG, along with insights from Google search, the online education market itself is expected to witness a huge surge, growing 8x since 2016 to reach the $1.96 billion mark by 2021. The report finds that the paid user base will grow 6x from 1.6 million users in 2016 to 9.6 million users in 2021.
Startups in edtech today span sectors such as K-12, higher education, vocational training, and corporate training sectors. Technologies like AR, VR, blockchain and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) Labs have been able to convince teachers and parents that products offered by edtech startups in India can be a part of overall learning mechanism of a student.
With the Indian edtech segment expected to be a $1.96 billion market by 2021, the investors have not been able to stay away from the growing opportunity for long.
YourStory brings to you seven edtech startups that witnessed some significant investments this month, which include both big and small names.
Unacademy, the Bengaluru-based edtech startup, raised $110 million in Series E round of funding from new investors Facebook and General Atlantic, along with Sequoia India at a post-money valuation of $510 million.
Started in 2015 by Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini, and Hemesh Singh as a platform for educators and learners, the edtech startup now claims to have more than one million videos on its platform. At present, the platform has over 10,000 educators who have created educational videos on Unacademy.
Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said,
“With this investment in Unacademy, we are reinforcing our commitment to the Indian startup ecosystem, as well as investing in a company that is transforming learning in India.”
The round also saw participation from existing investors such as Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital, and Blume Ventures. Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart and Sujeet Kumar, Co-founder of Udaan also participated in this round of funding.
Unacademy said it will utilise the funding to further penetrate the test preparation categories, launching more exam categories, acquiring top educators, and creating exceptional learning experiences for the learners through great content and product.
Online learning platform Udemy announced that Benesse Holdings has agreed to invest $50 million (about Rs 358 crore) in the company.
The deal values Udemy at $2 billion, according to a company statement.
Udemy CEO Gregg Coccari said, “Benesse is an important (long-time) strategic partner for Udemy, and this investment is a testament to the strength of our relationship and the opportunity ahead of us.”
Recently, the Udemy app recorded over 10 million installs on Google Play Store and is one of the top-rated apps in the education category.
The platform counts over 40 million students from across the globe. On the Udemy app, users can choose from more than 130,000 learning courses in over 60 languages.
Genius Corner, a Noida-based edtech startup, raised $250,000 from Singapore-based individual investors including Mahesh Mohta, Jyoti Arora, Nachu Subramanian, and Srivats. The startup said the funding will be utilised to on-board additional 30,000 students on the platform.
Launched in 2014 by Vishal Khatter, Dheeraj Khatter, and Dipak Varshney, Genius Corner aims to redefine learning and make the process of learning personalised. The edtech startup claims to deliver more than one million hours of personalised learning to about 50,000 students.
Gurugram-based edtech startup PlanetSpark had raised a follow-on pre-Series A round of Rs 3.2 crore from Indian Angel Network, Lead Angels, and Hyderabad Angels. Existing seed investor and one of India’s largest coaching brands, FIITJEE Limited, also participated in this round.
Founded in 2016 by Maneesh Dhooper and Kunal Malik, PlanetSpark provides neighbourhood learning zones where children learn and develop 'new-age' skills under one roof.
According to the company, it will use the funds for expanding the business into new geographies and increasing enrolments by 10x over the next 12-15 months.
Noida-based edtech startup Classplus has raised $2.5 million in a Pre-Series A round of funding from Blume Ventures and Sequoia Capital India’s rapid scale-up programme Surge. The round also saw participation from marquee angels Kunal Shah, Founder of Cred and Freecharge; Alvin Tse, GM, Xiaomi-Indonesia; Eric Kwan, Partner at Locus Ventures; among others.
Started in 2018 by Mukul Rustagi and Bhaswat Agarwal, Classplus is a mobile-first SaaS platform that enables private coaching institutes and their tutors to streamline their content distribution, payments, communication, and online assessments through an app.
Tutors can even conduct online assessments on the app and identify students’ learning gaps and track their performance over time.
At present, Classplus claims to have a presence in over 50 cities, catering to more than 3,000 tutors teaching more than five lakh students on a regular basis, and drive pre-classroom and post-classroom engagement.
Bengaluru-based Vedantu raised $24 million as part of its Series C extension round, led by global venture capital firm GGV Capital, with participation from existing investors. Now, its total fund raise stands at $85 million.
The startup said it will use the funds to invest in brand leadership and expand into new categories like early childhood to lower grades (kindergarten to standard 5). Besides, it will look at adding new experiences and dimensions for young learners from metros to small-town India.
At present, Vedantu’s platform sees 25 million users accessing free content every month. It has more than 500 teachers who provide classes to six million learners per month.
The startup has created a new platform WAVE that measures learning outcomes over 70 parameters.
Bengaluru-based edtech startup Embibe raised funding of Rs 89.91 crore from existing investor and shareholder Reliance Industries.
Founded by Aditi Avasthi, this education platform leverages data analytics to deliver personalised learning outcomes for students. It uses analytics and technology to capture student weaknesses centred on critical exam performance metrics like speed, accuracy, time management, attempt planning, stamina, and addresses psychological factors like confidence.
Avalon Meta, a startup that combines higher education and competitive gaming, has raised $420,000 led by Peerplays, a Blockchain-based gaming company, in a strategic capacity along with Purvi Capital, a Chicago-based VC firm, and Abhinav Chhikara, the former Head of Design of edtech giant Unacademy.
Founded in 2017 by Varun Mayya, Shashank Udupa, and Abhinav Arora, Avalon Meta is run by digital services company Avalon Labs.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)