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This Week in Deals — April 2021 (Part 1)

Between April 01, 2021 and April 17, 2021, we saw about 11 businesses in the Indian EdTech space get funding. Of these 11, about four were in the Upskilling/Reskilling space and three were in the Early Education space. Barring the undisclosed investments, total capital raised equaled almost $38.0 million.

Who Got A Slice?

  1. GetWork (Seed, $270K): GetWork is a recruiting platform for corporates, SMEs, and startups to directly hire from the 18,000 placement cells in institutes and colleges. The company also offers skill training to students. The round was led by Artha Venture Fund (AVF), and saw participation of India Accelerator’s angel investors.
    Colleges with an excellent alumni network may not necessarily need a platform like GetWork, but this could be a game changer for colleges who struggle to place their students at reputed companies. On the demand side, companies looking to hire talent outside of their conventional hiring networks could benefit from hiring excellent talent from colleges in Tier 2,3,4 cities.
  2. Socialswag (Seed, $1 million): Socialswag​ is a skill and talent development platform with celebrity-led courses. The platform has gone live with a website with an app expected to be rolled out in the next couple of weeks. The round was led by several undisclosed family offices.
    A MasterClass like model, the company will look to directly compete with FrontRow, which already hosts top-tier celebrities like Divine, Amit Trivedi, Neha Kakkar, Biswa Kalyan Rath, and Suresh Raina. What could be the game changer for Socialswag? Read on till the end to find a surprise.
  3. CareerLabs (Pre-Series A, $2.2 million): Founded in 2019, CareerLabs is a profile builder platform to help college students and working professionals access suitable industry-recognised courses and certifications for upskilling. The career skilling solutions are carefully built to make it affordable at a price that is 70 percent lower than similar solutions. The round was led by Global Founders Capital, with participation from Toshan Tamhane, Ajit Isaac, Rohit Kale, Ghanshyam Dass, Abhishek Nag, and other angel investors.
  4. Crejo.Fun (Pre-Seed, $3.0 million): Crejo.Fun is a digital extracurricular learning platform that aims to help children discover their passions and interests through creative learning. Its sessions are conducted live by expert instructors, who focus on fun and engagement to help children get comfortable and practice as they develop individuality around their unique expression of interests. The pre-seed funding round was led by Matrix Partners India and 021 Capital.
    With more and more platforms emerging in the early education space, and with parents being the primary decision drivers at this stage, maybe a holistic development platform like Crejo is what the market needs.
  5. AntWak (Seed, Undisclosed): Founded in 2020, AntWak offers more than 1,000 free, bite-sized professional learning courses in over 15 domains such as cybersecurity, digital marketing, data engineering, user experience, sales and BD, data engineering, powered by over 2,500 experts from more than 500 brands and corporates across at least 30 countries. Matrix Partners India led the round. Early-stage fund Better Capital and serial angel investor CRED founder Kunal Shah also participated in this round.
    Bite-Sized learning is being quickly adopted, with learning content being developed quickly, and at low costs. Such a delivery model can lead to more efficient learning, and companies could use such a platform to launch learning content for employees with an effective use of time.
  6. PlayShifu (Series B, $17 million): Founded in 2016, PlayShifu creates engaging and immersive AR experiences for children that encourage early STEM skills. Inventus Capital India and Inflexor Ventures joined as a new investor. Existing investors Chiratae Ventures and Bharat Innovation Fund also participated in this round.
  7. Goseeko: Goseeko was founded in 2018 and operates on a subscription-based model and offers study materials for Graduate and Post Graduate courses. Digital Futurists Angels Network (DFAN) invested an undisclosed amount in the company.
  8. Learnvern (Growth, $1 million): Launched in January 2020, LearnVern is an online learning platform that offers job-oriented courses in vernacular languages. The investment came from an undisclosed set of international investors.
    Learnvern’s vision of providing free self-paced courses seems a bit hazy, with companies in the space facing stiff competition from a lot of competitors entering the space. But could Learnvern end up attracting so many free users that it ends up generating sufficient revenue from other sources? Is it going to be employer-partnership models that make the crux of their money? Or is it going to be Ad revenue?
  9. Emotix (Series B, $3.5 million): Emotix develops educational and recreational robot toys for children under the Miko lineup. IvyCap Ventures invested in the company.
  10. Vidyakul (Seed, $500K): Vidyakul is an interactive vernacular e-learning platform that enables teachers to create online courses for K-12, JEE, NEET, AIIMS in Tier II and Tier III cities. The Gurugram-based platform offers live lectures and pre-recorded video courses (from Class 9–12) for six state boards. Jain International Trade Organisation led the seed round. Other investors including We Founder Circle, and SOSV also participated in the round.
    Branding is imperative in business. Vidyakul has perfectly branded itself as a partner of Tutors in Tier 2,3,4 cities and ‘Bharat ka online school’. It has also catapulted to more than a million users in a short span of time due to its extensive focus on state board curriculum in regions such as UP, Bihar, MP, and Gujarat.
  11. upGrad (Growth, $9.5 million): Founded in 2015, upGrad is India’s largest online higher education company providing programs in Data Science, Technology, Management and Law, to students, working professionals and enterprises. The company has received the new funds from Unilazer Ventures.

Globally, companies which received funding included (i) GoStudent (K-12 learning), (ii) Edkasa (K-12 learning), (iii) Guide Education (Teacher Training and Content Marketplace), (iv) OnlineMedEd (Medical Learning Content), (v) Outschool (After-school classes for entertainment or supplemental studies, became a unicorn), (vi) Amira Learning (Intelligent Reading Assistant), (vii) Lingoda (Online Language School), (viii) Degreed (Upskilling and Reskilling platform, became a unicorn), and (ix) HEI Schools (Early Education Platform).

Is the Future of Learning Hybrid?

In the first week of April, Byju’s completed its $1 billion acquisition of Aakash Educational Services, a transaction that has been in the works since the beginning of 2021.

Clearly, the corporate development team over at Byju’s believes that the future of education is going to be a blend of “Physical” and “Digital”.

In the K-12 segment, companies such as Chrysalis and LEAD School are engaging with schools and providing curriculum in a classroom setting and offering at-home learning tech capabilities as well.

Colleges are also starting to pick-up pace, collaborating with platforms such as Coursera to provide their students certifications and courses in their areas of interest, as there is an increasing understanding that using high quality standardized content may be an efficient of approaching education.

Whatever the permutation and combination, whether it is in-school and at-home, or at-home and in-coaching centers, there is clearly a recognition that technology as an enabler is transforming education for all stakeholders.

Let us know what you think?

  1. How do you feel about technology being integrated into education at all levels?
  2. Since so many companies are coming up with businesses in early education, do you see this being the future in a hopeful post-pandemic world? Do you think parents would like to have so much screen-time at a young age of 6–12?

Whatever may be the case, it is clear that EdTech in a country such as India is a very enticing business. Even Rowdy Rathore (left) and Bhallaladeva (right) want some skin in the game.

Source: The Tech Outlook

Watch this space for more on Education, EdTech, and everything in between.

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