Investors have been bullish on India’s ed-tech space in recent months. The sector witnessed a flurry of deals as schools remained shut owing to the Covid-19-induced lockdown and learners switched to online classes.
Edtech startup Unacademy will get $150 million in a fresh funding round led by Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund, catapulting it into the unicorn club with a valuation of $1.45 billion – second only to market leader Byju’s. ET reported on August 15 that Unacademy was in talks to raise $150 million from investors led by SoftBank.
Why is this significant?
This is SoftBank Vision Fund’s first investment in an Indian firm since December when it backed eyewear retailer Lenskart. The investment will come from SoftBank Vision Fund-2 . The famed technology investor has over the past year slowed down on new bets globally, cutting fewer cheques following the IPO debacle at portfolio firm WeWork.
Eruditus, another edtech startup, has landed $113 million in funding led by Leeds Illuminate and South African internet giant Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures) with participation from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic organisation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Existing investors Sequoia India and Ved Capital also participated in the fundraising.
Why it matters
Both Naspers and CZI are existing investors in edtech major Byju’s. CZI had backed edtech startup Byju’s in 2016, its first investment in the country and Asia. Byju’s has gone on to become a decacorn (with valuations of over $10 billion), after raising $545 million since January 2020. CZI made a partial exit from Byju’s earlier this year, raking in around Rs 200 crore.
Home design and renovation platform Livspace raised $90 million, led by Switzerland-based investment management firm Kharis Capital and Nicholas Cator’s Venturi Partners, along with Peugeot Group’s holding company FFP, Pidilite Group, and Singapore-based EDBI.
Why is it important?
These investments are a sign that investors are increasingly betting on specialised vertical marketplaces for large outcomes, at a time when the market for a horizontal e-commerce has been capped by Flipkart and Amazon.
Other key deals
- Food delivery app Zomato picked up Rs 456 crore (about $62 million) from Singapore’s state-owned investment arm Temasek Holdings. The transaction was made from MacRitchie Investments, a unit of Temasek and an existing investor in Zomato.
- Music streaming service Gaana raised Rs 375 crore in debt funding from existing shareholders Tencent and Times Internet. In July, Gaana had debuted a short video platform HotShots, in a bid to capitalise on the unprecedented demand from consumers following the ban of Bytedance-owned TikTok in the country. The music streaming service has signed up exclusive contracts with several top TikTok influencers onto its platform, ET reported in August.
*Disclosure: Gaana was incubated by Times Internet that also owns ETtech.