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FrontRow raises $3.2 million from venture capital firms, Padukone family office

FrontRow offers classes taught by celebrities in fields such as music, cricket or comedy, paired with a community platform that gives learners regular activities, competitions and peer engagement to practice and showcase their talentPremium
FrontRow offers classes taught by celebrities in fields such as music, cricket or comedy, paired with a community platform that gives learners regular activities, competitions and peer engagement to practice and showcase their talent

  • FrontRow will use the funds to add more courses and categories, expand their community offering and go deeper into various course formats

FrontRow, a learning and community platform focused on creative arts and sports, has raised seed funding of $3.2 million led by venture capital firms Lightspeed and Elevation Partners, along with actor Deepika Padukone’s family office.

FrontRow will use the funds to add more courses and categories, expand their community offering and go deeper into various course formats, the company said.

Founded by Mikhil Raj, Shubhadit Sharma and Ishaan Preet Singh earlier this year, FrontRow offers classes taught by celebrities in fields such as music, cricket or comedy, paired with a community platform that gives learners regular activities, competitions and peer engagement to practice and showcase their talent. The first set of instructors on the platform include industry stalwarts such as Neha Kakkar, Divine and Gully Gang, Suresh Raina, Amit Trivedi, Biswa Kalyan Rath, Yuzvendra Chahal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

There is massive demand for learning in non-academic fields, according to co-founder Ishaan Preet Singh, who estimates “there are 26 million+ people who already pay to learn in these categories".

With a 20-member strong multi-disciplinary team, FrontRow is based in Bengaluru and Mumbai and claims to have tens of thousands of beta users participating in their community groups pre-launch.

“A big part of learning is interacting with peers and mentors as we did in school and college, which is even more important in non-academic fields. Typically, these happen offline, on a cricket ground or in comedy clubs, but the vast majority of people don’t have access to these. In our communities, we see users from across the country, with massive pull from small-towns such as Shivpur, where a user actually set up their own comedy club," says co-founder Shubhadit Sharma.

FrontRow’s vision is to make this knowledge accessible to a wide audience, hence the price points remain affordable. The courses are developed over months of deep interaction with the celebrity instructors and created with movie level production quality to make them fun and engaging.

“Growing up, I wasn’t exactly academically inclined. My interests lay in diverse spheres and activities outside of the traditional classroom—dance, sports, music, modelling, and performance arts, to name a few. And if there’s one thing I wish I had access to while growing up, it would be a platform like ‘FrontRow’—one that gives individuals access to abundant knowledge in non-academic fields as well as connects them to a community of peers and professionals in their field of interest. I’m glad that this gap in education has now been identified, and I look forward to partnering with this dynamic team on what I believe is going to be an exciting journey ahead," Padukone said.

“We’ve known this team for years and are extremely excited to back [them in] building a new paradigm for learning—a cross between learning, entertainment and community," said Akshay Bhushan, partner at Lightspeed.

Mayank Khanduja, partner at Elevation Capital, said: “We love companies that discover a problem that’s massive but hidden just below the surface, and this is exactly what FrontRow has found. Our past investments in the education, social and creator space such as Unacademy, Sharechat and CampK12 have made us extremely bullish on the opportunity to create large learning and community platforms in India. Once we spoke to FrontRow’s early users, we saw similar potential, and the need for a platform like this became very clear."

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