[Funding alert] Edtech startup Avishkaar raises Rs 5 Cr in pre-series A round from Auxano, Mumbai Angels, others
New Delhi-based edtech startup Avishkaar has raised Rs 5 crore funding in pre-Series A round. Auxano, Mumbai Angels, Alok Mittal, angel investor & Co-founder and CEO, Indifi Technologies; and Varun Aggarwal, Co-founder, Aspiring Minds, participated in the funding round.
The startup said it plans to utilise the latest funding towards product development, hiring talent, and user base expansion across Tier I and Tier II cities.
Launched in 2014, Avishkaar is focused on robotics, AI, coding, and app development for children between 5 and 15 years of age through its hardware and software products. It earlier raised Rs 5 crore in seed investment from Auxano in February 2018 and used the funds towards expanding its presence across the country in schools and the launch of a new line of products.
Nandini Mansinghka, Co-promoter and CEO of Mumbai Angels Network, emphasised that edtech is one of the most lucrative sectors and one of the few industries that has emerged triumphant during the pandemic.
“Having launched new product lines along with creating new verticals, strengthening the leadership and operational teams, Avishkaar is poised to reach greater heights," Brijesh Damodaran Nair, Founder & Managing Partner, Auxano, added.
Pre-Covid vs post-Covid growth
In the pre-COVID period, the startup was working with over 1,500 schools and had grown its user-base to over 100,000 children. Post-March 2020, as the schools shut down, Avishkaar had to adapt.
“Last year was tough. But I believe we anticipated the situation well, played to our strengths, and used our data-driven decision making capability and existing schools network to reach out directly to our end consumer, which helped us continue with our growth,” said Tarun Bhalla, Co-founder and CEO, Avishkaar, in an exclusive interaction with YourStory.
The company shifted gears to focus on a D2C (Direct to Consumers model) model through its existing school network and ecommerce channels. As claimed by the company, this shift in strategy has accelerated the brand’s growth by more than 5 times in the last year.
Understanding challenges and solving them
One of the biggest challenges for the company was to make the product easy to understand and become more like a DIY project for the students, without seeking much help from the parents.
As Pooja Goyal, Co-founder and COO, Avishkaar explained, they took a few steps to address this challenge.
First, they built a lot of self-explanatory interactive video content as explainers for the kids to learn from. Secondly, they utilised their existing resource of Avishkaar teachers who are trained in robotics, coding, and are well-versed with Avishkaar kits to initiate live online classes for the students.
"Next, we are also focused on creating an online community of students, mentors, and teachers to interact well with their peers,” she added.
Both the cofounders accept that with the ongoing second wave of Covid-19, the uncertainty continues. The team is now focused on building a product that allows students to be more creative and innovative.
“We are also working on initiating and taking our students to more competitions to showcase their talent and virtualisation of our courses. Also, over the past year, we have received interest from international students as well, so innovation and expansion will definitely be on cards this year,” added Tarun.
In this fiscal, the founders will continue to stay focused on stabilising their supply chains throughout the year without any glitches, ensuring there is enough inventory and hassle-free delivery experience.
Of late, more deep-pocket players like Whitehat Jr and Vedantu among others have been battling for market share in the coding and robotics learning space. However, Avishkaar founders are optimistic and believe that continuous innovation and obsessive customer orientation is the key.
“We are working with the next generation to think imaginatively. Most competitors are taking a platform approach wherein they are aiming to build a lot of online learning verticals. However, we aim to stay focused on our mission to help children learn and imbibe the next-generation technologies and continue to build on that kernel,” added Pooja.