Kae Capital picks up minority stake in CultureAlley.com2 min read . Updated: 22 May 2013, 06:21 PM IST
Mumbai-based Kae Capital has funded one more education firm but did not disclose details
Intap Labs, a year-old start-up, runs a language-learning platform CultureAlley.com that it launched in November. The portal claims to have over 100,000 users across 210 nations.
For Kae Capital, the attraction lies in the viability of language learning, according to Sasha Mirchandani, managing partner. “The pain point is huge and global. For us, monetization is not the most important aspect, huge traction is more important currently."
Mumbai-based Kae Capital, which started investing last year, has funded one more education firm but did not disclose details.
CultureAlley has a cloud-based (software services delivered over a network such as the Internet) platform that enables interactive language learning through self-paced audio-visual lessons and can help one learn any language including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, Italian, French and Korean.
“There are a lot of tutors but there is a huge lack in quality content for language learning," said Pranshu Bhandari, co-founder of CultureAlley.com.
The website offers a one-on-one interaction with professional and trained coaches. It also offers 30 free self-study modules but one can take advanced lessons for a fee. An advanced interactive self-study lesson costs $4.99, according to the information given on the website.
Each real-time lesson costs $15-20 depending on the package one may choose.
The firm is not breaking even right now and the short-term goals include becoming profitable and reach out to more third-party authors who can use the platform for publishing their content, according to Bhandari. She added the funds raised in this round (from Kae Capital) “will primarily be used for product development".
Being based out of Jaipur has its advantages, Bhandari said. “Rajasthan has great technology talent due to engineering colleges such as Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani. Being here, keeps operating costs low," she said.
For Mirchandani, a “husband-wife team (such as the Nishant Patni and Pranshu Bhandari husband-wife team at CultureAlley) works very well together, more often than not. Even in globally successful accelerators like YCombinator, we have seen that some of the best teams are of husband and wife."
“CultureAlley.com reminds me of TutorVista (an online tutoring company) albeit with a narrow focus. The start-up has a freemium model and is very interesting. The question is how to get critical mass," said Arun Natarajan, managing director and chief executive, Venture Intelligence, which is run by TSJ Media Pvt Ltd.
Founded by Sasha Mirchandani, co-founder of Mumbai Angels, India’s second-largest angel investors’ network, Kae Capital had raised funding from Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners and Omidyar Network, among others, making it the first early-stage fund in the country which has VCs backing it.
Since it closed its maiden fund in February 2012, Kae Capital has invested in 20 firms, investing one-third of its corpus, and making it one of the most prolific investors in the country.
The education industry saw 16 VC investments worth $77 million in 2012, compared with 12 investments worth about $33 million in 2011, according to Venture Intelligence estimates, which tracks investment activity in the country. Experts say the education sector will continue its upward trajectory and attract increasing levels of investment.