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BENGALURU : Executive education platform Eruditus has raised $650 million as part of its latest Series E funding round led by Accel US and SoftBank Vision Fund II, valuing the startup at $3.2 billion, the company said on Thursday.

The round has seen a primary infusion of $430 million into the company and $220 million to give exits to early investors, a person aware of the discussion said, requesting anonymity.

Leading the secondary round are Canada Pension Plan Investment Board which invested between $100 million and $110 million and Prosus Ventures which put in $75 million, the person said.

Eruditus’ early investor Bertelsmann India Investments has taken a partial exit, said two people on condition of anonymity. Angel investors have also exited the firm and the founders diluted a part of their stake, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

Eruditus’ Series E round is yet to be closed and will see participation from existing and new investors in the coming three weeks, one of the people cited above said.

The recent fundraise makes Eruditus the fourth edtech firm to enter the unicorn league. With this funding, the total count of Indian startups hitting a billion-dollar valuation stands at 23 this year.

Earlier this week, rival UpGrad entered India’s unicorn stable after completing its $185 million fundraise led by Temasek Holdings Ltd at a valuation of $1.2 billion.

The other two unicorns in the edtech space include Naspers and Tiger Global-funded Byju’s and SoftBank-backed Unacademy, valued at $16.5 billion and $3.44 billion, respectively.

Eruditus will use the proceeds from the round to develop new courses in conjunction with university partners, create products for new industry verticals, double down on new markets, and fund acquisitions.

“We are fortunate to have the backing of investors who hold a long-term view and will help us grow 10 times over the next three years. We will use the funding to also make inorganic bets in newer areas of learning and to go deep in our existing geographies," Chaitanya Kalipatnapu, co-founder and executive director of Eruditus, said in an interview.

Kalipatnapu said that the company is exploring acquisitions for newer learning technologies, especially in the business-to-business space. It also wants to go deeper into the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America.

The round marks SoftBank’s second major investment in India’s burgeoning edtech landscape.

Founded 11 years ago, Eruditus targets professionals with its upskilling platform and offers more than 250 learning programmes developed in partnerships with over 50 universities, including Harvard University, The Wharton School, Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Technology. More than 250,000 individuals across 80 countries have used its courses.

“With the rapid rate of technological disruption, continuous upskilling is necessary for today’s job market. The company’s partnerships with elite universities and use of technology and data to create and deliver high-quality courses positions Eruditus to lead in this space," said Sumer Juneja, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

Currently, Eruditus has a team of 1,550 across 14 countries, with a presence in the US, Europe, China, and Latin America, and creates specialized courses for corporate customers.

“The unbundling of higher education and continued learning has only just started. We believe that the platform and deep partnerships with the world’s best universities put Eruditus and its partner universities at the forefront of this revolution in higher education," said Anand Daniel, a partner at Accel.

Eruditus’ recent funding follows its $200 million acquisition of iD Tech, which marked Eruditus’ expansion into the kindergarten-12 (K-12) space. In addition, the company offers small private online courses, a category that also saw the recent entry of rival UpGrad through the acquisition of KnowledgeHut.

In the past months, Byju’s has acquired Great Learning for $600 million to enter the upskilling and reskilling segment.

Even Unacademy, after its recent fundraise, said that the company has aspirations to enter the upskilling segment.

According to Eruditus, it is on track to clock more than $500 million in bookings by June.

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