Omidyar leads $11 million funding in live tutoring platform Vedantu
Currently tutoring students from 6th to 12th grade, the company plans to enter into exams categories like GMAT and GRE
Bengaluru: Vedantu, an online tutoring platform, has raised $11 million in a Series B funding round led by Omidyar Network, the company’s co-founder, Vamsi Krishna, said in an interview. The funds will be used for technology expansion and deeper penetration in tier 2 and 3 cities.
Accel Partners, an existing investor, also participated in the round.
Vedantu, which means ‘knowledge network,’ is an online portal, where teachers tutor students in group and one-on-one sessions. An hour’s group session costs Rs 50-150 and a private session costs Rs300-600. “Our group sessions are doing very well in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. That is why a major amount of this funding will go into expanding in that market,” said Krishna.
The technological development will aim to make the sessions more personalized. The platform will track aspects like a student’s attention span and concept understanding using machine learning, facial recognition and others.
Krishna, a graduate of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, founded the company in 2014 with Anand Prakash and Pulkit Jain. The trio previously co-founded Lakshya (now Lakshya Educare Pvt. Ltd) where they also taught. Lakshya, a brick-and-mortar coaching centre, was sold to MT Educare Ltd in 2012. “Even though Vendantu is a four-year-old company, the idea was born while we were at Lakshya. We wanted to bring good teaching to every student, which would have taken a very long time in a brick-and-mortar setting. So we decided to sell Lakshya and develop the tech for our new company,” Krishna said.
Currently tutoring students from 6th to 12th grade, the company plans to enter into exams categories like GMAT and GRE.
The Vedantu app is operational in 80 cities including Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi with students from 36 countries and 1,200 cities.
The online education sector in India is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 52% to $1.96 billion by 2021, according a joint study by Google and KPMG.
Vedantu competes with online education start-ups including Byju’s (Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd) and Unacademy (Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd).
Investors are betting big on such content start-ups because they can reach the 200-300 million new internet users from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. More than a dozen content deals that together amount to over $400 million are expected to be closed before the end of the year, Mint reported in August.
Unacademy raised a $21 million Series C round from Sequoia India, SAIF Partners and others, and Byju’s is set to raise $200-300 million from private equity giant General Atlantic, Mint reported in September. In addition, the company is expected to be valued at $3.5 billion, which will make it India’s fourth most valuable start-up behind digital payments firm Paytm (One97 Communications Pvt. Ltd), cab-hailing service Ola, and budget hotel chain Oyo Rooms.
“The lowering data costs and availability of high-speed internet is making the online teaching model a reality,” said Siddharth Nautiyal, investment partner, Omidyar Network, in a statement released by Vedantu. “We are excited about our partnership with Vedantu as they build a solution for the next half billion Indians who are coming online for the first time,” he added.
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