Husband-wife duo cum serial entrepreneurs and K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh have returned to the digital education business by acquiring avagmah, an online education services venture, for an undisclosed amount. The company is now close to raising Rs 100 crore (just under $17 million) for expansion to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East.
"Online education is a red hot opportunity. The potential is illustrated by companies like 2U (filed for a $100 million IPO in February 2014) and EmbanetCompass (sold to Pearson for $650 million). The model has been proven in the US, but has not been attempted in this region. I am confident that the US' success in online higher education can be replicated in Asia as well," said K Ganesh, who had previously built online education venture TutorVista, which was acquired in 2013 by UK-based Pearson Inc for Rs 980 crore.
According to a company spokesperson, avagmah is already in talks with a few Indian as well as global investors, and expects to close the fundraising in three-four months.
avagmah was founded by Karthik KS (CEO), who had previously co-founded 24x7 Learning, an e-learning consulting, technology and implementation company. In the past, he had worked at companies, including PCL, HCL, HP and Microland. Karthik holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from National Institute of Technology (Karnataka) and a PG Diploma in Business Management from Bharti Vidya Bhavan (New Delhi).
avagmah is an education venture offering industry relevant online continuing education programmes (certificate, UG and PG courses) for working professionals. The firm has partnered with leading international and local partners such as the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University. avagmah's other academic partners include Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods International (Media & Entertainment), Apollo Hospitals â€“ MedVarsity (Healthcare), IMT-Ghaziabad and Bharathidasan University.
The firm counts among its clients several industry leaders such as Convergys, Infosys, Accenture, Abbot, Titan, Airtel, HP, Glenmark, Syntel, Aditya Birla Group and AstraZeneca which sponsor students for its online courses. avagmah says it has an order book of Rs 20 crore in 2014 and is expecting sales to grow 6x in the coming year. The company claims to have provided training to over 1,800 professionals.
"The phenomenal flexibility of our technology platform and the industry-relevant, world class content we offer has meant new student enrolment is increasing more than 100 per cent y-o-y. We are looking at boosting our course offerings from the current nine to nearly 50 over two-three years and a 10x increase in student enrolment as we target the wider Asian region," said Karthik.
Karthik will continue to drive the business as avagmah's CEO and he is on the company's board along with Meena Ganesh and Sarbvir Singh, MD of Capital 18.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)