Mauritius- and US-based investment firm WestBridge Capital has led a USD 28 million funding round in Mumbai-based edtech company Lead School. Its existing investor, Elevar Equity, also participated in this round.
The current funding takes its total fundraise to USD 36 million to date.
Lead School said it will utilize the funding to increase its team size across the organization, develop new products and services, as well as onboard new schools in non-metro cities.
The eight-year-old company was co-founded by Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah to enhance the offerings of private schools in smaller towns using technology. It provides private schools its own learning content for students and teaching resources for teachers. Using its tool, school administrators or principal can assess their teachers’ performance in the class. In addition, it said that its tech integration with schools allows institutions to monitor the progress and growth of students. Even parents can use its platform to see their children’s learning curve.
“Affordable schools in small towns are where the problem is. In metros, the teachers are doing a great job. But in small towns, the parent aspiration is high, but teacher skill is low, and that’s the sweet spot where we work,” Mehta, co-founder and CEO of Lead School, said in a statement.
Mehta said the company has partnered with over 800 schools, of which 80-85% of schools are based in tier 2, 3, and 4 cities. The ongoing pandemic has helped the company rope in more schools as online tutoring has become critical for schools to function during the lockdown. Even in cities where lockdown is lifted, schools all over the country remain shut.
Till now, edtech companies were offering additional tutoring to students apart from their school education. COVID-19 has given an opportunity to edtech startups to venture in the B2B space as well. There’s an increasing attempt by B2C companies to partner with educational institutes to offer digital learning software.
To begin with, Unacademy and Vedantu have temporarily lent their live-streaming platform to schools and other educational institutes for free. While consumer-facing companies are exploring new avenues, existing B2B companies are hoping the pandemic will help them get their due prominence. Early in January, New Delhi-based Eupheus Learning that provides curriculum and homework tracking services on a subscription model to schools, raised USD 4.3 million led by Yuj Ventures.
“Previously, schools were hesitant to adopt technology, but COVID-19 has shown people that the age-old ways are not going to work,” Mehta said.
This is WestBridge Capital’s third investment in an Indian edtech startup. Last year in August it co-led an investment round of USD 42 million with Tiger Global in Vedantu. Prior to that, it had invested in Bengaluru-based TutorVista which was acquired by edtech major Pearson in 2011.
With over USD 3 billion assets under management, WestBridge Capital largely backs Indian companies and doesn’t limit its investments to just technology companies. A few of its big tech portfolio companies include Flipkart which was acquired by Walmart in 2018, fintech firm Prizm, bike taxi aggregator Rapido, gaming company Nazara Technologies, among others.