Sequoia’s Surge bets on video platform InVideo

… Rs 17.90 crore at current exchange rates) in funding led by Surge, the accelerator programme of global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

Video production and editing platform InVideo has raised $2.5 million (approximately Rs 17.90 crore at current exchange rates) in funding led by Surge, the accelerator programme of global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

Others that have invested in the company include angel investors Anand Chandrasekaran and Gokul Rajaram, InVideo said in a statement.

The San Francisco- and Mumbai-based startup said it will use the funds to grow its global audience, invests in its community and expands its product pipeline.

The latest investment takes the total funding InVideo has raised so far to a little over $3.2 million, it added.

Sanket Shah, co-founder and CEO at InVideo, said the startup was aiming to democratise the access to professional video software. “We are using AI to automate the entire video-making process so even beginners can create videos,” he said.

Previously, the video editing startup had raised around $750,000 in angel funding from Haresh Chawla, Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl, Bigtree Entertainment’s Ashish Hemrajani and Times Internet’s Miten Sampat.

InVideo, operated by Abstrakt Video Pvt. Ltd, says its editing platform suggests real-time improvements with the help of an autocorrect assistant. Some of these suggestions include font and animation choices, and colour palettes. InVideo was part of Surge’s second cohort of 20 startups from across Southeast Asia and India.

The company offers a basic free service, with premium features being sold through a subscription model. Its platform also includes features such as drag-and-drop functionality, a large picture, and video library and formatting for different services such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp.

InVideo claims it has a user base of more than one lakh customers across 150 countries, including companies such as AT&T, Sony Music, Reuters, CNN, and CNBC.

Surge’s investments

InVideo is the latest Surge-accelerated startup to receive funding, whether through the Sequoia arm or other investors. Mentors on Surge include Byju Raveendran of ed-tech startup Byju’s, Deepinder Goyal of food-technology platform Zomato, Ritesh Agarwal of hotel firm OYO, Kunal Shah of Cred, Ankiti Bose of Zilingo and Ashwini Asokan of Mad Street Den.

Last month, e-sports streaming and community platform Rheo raised $2 million (around Rs 14.34 crore) in seed funding from a clutch of investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Surge, Unacademy founders Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini and former LinkedIn India country manager Mahesh Narayanan.

In December, software-as-a-service startup Seekify Technologies raised $1.5 million (around Rs 10.6 crore) in seed funding from Surge and angel investors such as Avatar Venture Partners founding partner Nishant Rao, 1mg co-founder Gaurav Agarwal, and HealthKart founder Sameer Maheshwari.

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Reasons Why Non-Traditional Investors are Funding Indian Start-ups

These include sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, PE firms and family offices, according to data sourced from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital …
September 13, 2019 2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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With the number of start-ups ballooning in India requiring higher dose of capital infusion, new categories of investors are coming to the fore.

These include sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, PE firms and family offices, according to data sourced from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and cited by The Economic Times in a report. Some of the investors include Facebook, Ikea and Qatar Investment Authority, among others.

The Non-Traditional Route

The non-traditional investors have cracked several funding deals in India. For instance, Facebook invested in social commerce start-up Meesho, Ikea invested in home design start-up Livspace and Qatar Investment Authority pumped US$150 million in edtech unicorn Byju’s.

Apart from big companies and giants, many companies started off as non-traditional investors and took their game seriously, thereafter. SoftBank being a classic example of the same. It started off as telecom firm and went to establish the Vision Fund, becoming the biggest investor in the world.

Despite the number of start-ups going up in the country, a recent report by TiE and Zinnov recommended an urgent need to significantly increase the seed and early stage funding, which has tapered since 2017. But, the need for funding at these stages is increasing given that companies are preferring to remain private. Only a handful of companies such as Druva, Mobikwik and Freshworks have shown the intent to go public.

The Big Gaps

India is undervalued, underpenetrated and underbanked. With no dearth of a pool of talent and skill, it is lagging behind US and China despite having a solid and robust start-up ecosystem. There are gaps in the funding stages as well. According to a report by accelerator and VC, 9Unicorns, India gets 20x less funsing than US in Series A. in 2018, India had only US$ 4.1 billion pumped in Series A deals whereas US had a staggering US$84.1 billion pumped.

Additionally, Indian start-ups absorb US$12 billion-US$14 billion ever year as compared with China which has receives almost double the amount in the very first half of the year at US$23.2 billion, leaving the Indian market underpenetrated.

With over 17000 start-ups in India, the demand for capital infusion is bound to rise and here comes the role of non-traditional investors.

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Mumbai’s WhiteHat Jr Raises $10 Mn In Series A Round

Accel Partners, Omidyar India and TAL Education also participated in the round, along with Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein and founders of …
Edtech Startup WhiteHat Jr Raises $10 Mn In Series A RoundEdtech Startup WhiteHat Jr Raises $10 Mn In Series A Round

Edtech startup WhiteHat Jr has raised $10 Mn (roughly INR 72 Cr) in a Series A round. Led by existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network, the Mumbai-based startup was also backed by Owl Ventures, the company said in a press statement.

The edtech startup works with young adults and kids to help them build digital products and applications, work with animation, and learn fundamentals of programming and coding. WhiteHat Jr said it would use the funds to further strengthen its technology platform, add more courses to the curriculum, and boost its marketing and branding efforts.

“Our mission is to harness the natural creativity of kids and shift their mindset from an early age from being consumers to creators of technology. It’s been heartening to see the projects of kids in the first six months of launch as they are creating immensely creative, high utility digital applications that are bound to have long-term impact,” Karan Bajaj, founder and CEO, WhiteHat, said.

This is Owl Ventures second investment in the edtech space after it had joined BYJU’S $150 Mn round in July this year. MD Amit A Patel said WhiteHat Jr’s unique proposition is relevant not just in India, but in other markets as well.

Founded in 2018 by ex-Discovery Networks CEO Karan Bajaj, WhiteHat Jr is addressing a unique gap in the Indian education system for kids aged 6 to 14. WhiteHat Jr is a live online one-to-one coding platform which teaches the principles of coding—sequence, structure, logic, commands and algorithmic thinking – to young kids, who don’t usually get this training in the formal education system.

In April, it raised $1.3 Mn (INR 9 Cr) in a seed funding round from Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network India. The company launched its beta in January and since then has enabled over 150K student trials, with over 500 teachers onboarded and 100% month-on-month student and revenue growth. It claims to conduct 1,000 online classes per day and has a daily waitlist of 500 students.

At the time, Bajaj told Inc42 that WhiteHat Jr is looking to onboard 8-10 teachers every day to manage the surge of student signups. Bajaj said “thousands” of students have subscribed to the paid-classes package.

Edtech Funding Growth Intensifies Competition

Edtech sector is one that’s poised for great growth and opportunity in the Indian context. According to DataLabs by Inc42, there were 3,500 edtech startups in India in 2018. Between 2014 and 2018, 182 edtech startups were funded with a total of $1.34 Bn, so the investor interest has remained high for edtech.

Last month, Bengaluru-based online tutoring startup Vedantu raised a mega funding round of $42 Mn, with the investment led by New York-based Tiger Global Management and WestBridge Capital. Accel Partners, Omidyar India and TAL Education also participated in the round, along with Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein and founders of Vedantu, which is an online tutoring platform, using a real-time proprietary virtual learning environment called WAVE.

As more and more Indians come online, the addressable market for online learning, skill development and higher education is expanding by the quarter. Indian edtech segment is expected to be a $1.96 Bn market by 2021. Some of the leading players include BYJU’S, Unacademy, upGrad, InterviewBit Academy, Pesto and others.

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Indian K12 online tutoring startup Vedantu raises Series C amidst resurgent edtech boom

Other investors involved in the round include venture capitals Accel Partners and Omidyar India, in addition to Chinese unicorn TAL Education, among …

Bengaluru-based edtech startup Vedantu which specializes in K12 live online tutoring said Thursday it had raised a USD 42 million Series C round led by Tiger Global and WestBridge Capital in the latest testament to the country’s resurgent edtech boom that is bouncing back from a dip two years ago.

Other investors involved in the round include venture capitals Accel Partners and Omidyar India, in addition to Chinese unicorn TAL Education, among others. The startup has raised a total of almost USD 60 million to date.

The new funding will be used to expand into more cities and acquire more users, as well as beef up the technology and study content on its platform. It claims to be the first one of its kind in India to utilize AI and ML in an online learning experience.

Vedantu offers two main types of learning experience on its platform.

First, there is online one-on-one and one-on-many live tutoring for students fall under the bracket of class 4 to class 12, those who are studying Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum across India and the Middle East. Subjects covered on the platform range from science, mathematics, English, Hindi to environmental and social science.

In the live sessions, students are prompted to take intermittent quizzes. Vedantu’s platform will track how much time a student needs to answer the questions to gauge the student’s familiarity with a topic, and then provide more quizzes from the topics that require additional practices with alerts sent to the teachers to follow up.

Selling subscriptions to these live and interactive tutoring sessions is the company’s main revenue source. The price ranges from USD 1.4 for a specific topic or USD 700 for long-term subscription, the company’s co-founder and CEO Vamsi Krishna told TechCrunch in an interview. It has more than 30,000 paying subscribers and more than half of them are from small towns.

On the other hand, Vedantu also provides a wide range of recorded courses which are free to use. More than 80% of users accessing its recorded and free content are from tier 2 and smaller cities.

The company boasts of more than 15 million users from over 1,000 cities across 30 plus countries. It also claims north of 500 teachers on its platform.

Vedantu has a tough competition ahead in the world’s second-most populous country with its local rivals, such as Byju’s, one of the world’s most valuable edtech startup with more than 2.4 million paid subscribers out of 30 million users. The company is valued at more than USD 6 billion.

There are two other competitors, Toppr and Unacademy. The four of them took in 77% of the total funding between 2014 and 2018 into the edtech space.

India’s online education market is coming back from a short dormant resulting from a mix of factors such as the then world economic uncertainty and the country’s own demonetization a few years ago.

India has one of the largest school-going population coupled with the parents’ willingness to invest in education. In contrast, there is a “shortfall in the number of schools, colleges, and universities as the shortage on the skills development side,” according to a report by accountancy firm EY. The gap gives rise to the country’s edtech startups that are tapping into the huge potential. The accountancy believes there is “an under-penetrated market in the edtech space and ripe for disruption and investments.”

Beyond K12 and online tutoring, PE and VC firms are also looking at other verticals such as open online courses, reskilling/upskilling program generators. “There is also a burgeoning digital skill divide in our country and edtech companies are starting to step in to reduce the gap,” the report says.

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Australia’s Growth DNA, others invest in Ed-tech startup AdmitKard

… (Rs 346 crore) in a Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures and others.

Ed-tech startup AdmitKard has raised $1 million (approximately Rs 7.15 crore at current exchange rates) from a clutch of investors, the company said in a statement.

The funding was led by the Australia-based ed-tech fund Growth DNA and Dheeraj Bhatia, the founder of Kips Learning, a professional computer education firm.

AdmitKard co-founder Rachit Agrawal said the company will use the funds for expansion across the country apart from building its technological and product capabilities. The startup runs on a freemium model, with its vanilla services being made available to any student. Educational institutions also pay the company a royalty fee for promotion and marketing, he added.

AdmitKard, which is operated by Pineyards Solutions Pvt. Ltd, was co-founded by Rachit Agrawal and Piyush Bhartiya in 2016. Agrawal, an alumnus of Indian IIT Allahabad, has previously worked with Microsoft and Adobe. Bhartiya is an alumnus of IIT Roorkee, and has previously been associated with the Boston Consulting Group.

The Noida-based startup helps students select and apply for higher education abroad. For instance, it asks candidates to build a profile on their platform, and then connects them with a student who is already studying the same course in their preferred choice of country. Following the discussions between the two, AdmitKard then helps candidates with their application.

Deals in the ed-tech segment

The online learning and ed-tech segment has attracted considerable investor interest of late.

The valuation of ed-tech firm Byju’s crossed $5 billion after it raised $31.3 million in a funding round in March led by existing investors General Atlantic and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

In December last year, Byju’s announced that it had secured $540 million (Rs 3,855 crore then) in a round led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers.

In June, ed-tech platform for competitive exams Unacademy raised $50 million (Rs 346 crore) in a Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures and others. The startup said it will use the fresh capital to onboard more educators and fuel growth across multiple exam categories.

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