[Funding alert] Airblack raises $5.2M Series A investment led by Info Edge Ventures and Elevation Capital

Online beauty and makeup learning platform Airblack will use the $5.2 million Series A investment to accelerate the expansion of its Beauty Club, launch new clubs, and invest in product, engineering, and the brand.
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Online makeup and beauty learning platform Airblack has raised $5.2 million Series A funding co-led by Info Edge Ventures and Elevation Capital.

The startup, which helps people upskill and become micro-entrepreneurs in the beauty skilling market through “do-it-together” (DIT) courses, will use the funds to accelerate the expansion of its Beauty Club, launch new clubs, and invest in product, engineering, and the brand.

The round also saw participation from Atelier Ventures, along with Better Capital; Ankur Nagpal, Founder and CEO, Teachable; Kunal Shah, Founder, CRED; Vidit Aatrey, Co-Founder and CEO, Meesho; Sanjeev Barnwal, Co-Founder and CTO, Meesho; Sujeet Kumar, Co-Founder, Udaan; Utsav Somani, Partner, AngelList India and Partner, iSeed; and Ashish Gupta, Managing Director, Helion Ventures.

Videt Jaiswal, Founder and CEO, Airblack, said, “The Instagram and YouTube revolution has made people aware that there are hundreds of ways to earn a livelihood. Traditional edtech is just the tip of the iceberg and has been limited to a few skills. We foresee 100 million people becoming digital creators and freelancers in India in the next five years.

"At Airblack, we are fueling this economy by empowering people to learn a practical skill in a fraction of time and cost of traditional education and launch their livelihoods on the internet. This fundraise bolsters our movement and allows us to take our DIT courses to millions of creators and micro-entrepreneurs.”

The DIT courses are presented by curated experts in a workshop format and enable hundreds of participants to learn in an interactive manner.

Airblack pivoted towards this segment last year, and so far, over over 25,000 learners have attended these courses across more than 500 cities. A majority of these are women who have since become freelancers, online creators, or home salon owners.

Vaas Bhaskar, Vice President, Elevation Capital, said, “The future of work is going to look very different for Millennials and Gen-Z. A perfect storm of new aspirations, decline of old career choices, and new opportunities is brewing. India is already home to the second largest freelancer community in the world; and COVID has only accelerated this trend. We believe that Airblack is well placed to become the learning and enablement brand for millions of internet-first entrepreneurs in the coming decade. We invested in Airblack in their seed round and are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Videt and Vaibhav through this fund raise.”

Empowering and skilling entrepreneurs

Prominent makeup artists such as Namrata Soni and Mehak Kawatra have taken guest classes   on the platform. The in-house panel includes experts such as Sohni Juneja, a top Delhi-based freelancer; Amishi Sindhwani, an ex-Miss India regional finalist and a beauty creator; and Aarti Makker, a prominent beauty educator.

Kitty Aggarwal, Partner, Info Edge Ventures, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Videt and the team at Airblack. Their obsession with product and customer experience has led to amazing organic traction for their beauty and makeup courses. Globally, people are increasingly becoming keen to stay independent and follow their passion, and it’s heartening to see Airblack empowering and skilling thousands of entrepreneurs and freelancers, mainly women, to convert their passion into an income earning opportunity and gain recognition in their chosen field. Airblack is truly building for the world.”

The startup currently clocks over 45,000 hours of live classes every month; these are supplemented by take-home assignments that help learners gain new skills. Real-time feedback and encouragement foster a sense of community and belonging.

Airblack at present has long-duration courses with a timeline ranging from 30 days to 120 days, while fees start from Rs 10,000. Short-duration courses can range from one day to five days with fees as low as Rs 150.

The success and popularity of this model is evident from the whopping 80 percent course completion rate, with an average user rating of 4.9/5

Airblack recently expanded to include senior operators from firms such as WhiteHatJr, Bain & Co, and OYO. Close to 75 percent of Airblack’s 100-member team comprises women, with 50 percent in leadership roles. The company is actively hiring across engineering, design, and operations.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai