Gurgaon-based Aspiring Minds, a skill and employability assessment services company, has floated a $1 million (around Rs 6.5 crore) fund to provide seed capital to startups in educational technology and employment space.
The fund will focus on investing in technology driven companies mostly in India, China and the US that are developing innovative solutions using mobile technology and data science to address inefficiencies in the education and labour market.
The company plans to invest in the next 12 to 18 months and scale the fund systemically. The fund will give priority to the companies that are driven by technology and have developed a product/service that aims to impact users and have measurable parameters to assess the impact, it said.
"With the launch of this fund, we are on the lookout for companies which can fill the gaps in the ecosystem and add value to the labour market." said Varun Aggarwal, co-founder and CTO, Aspiring Minds.
The fund aims to assist innovative ideas and fledgling companies by providing market access, execution advice and capital. It also plans to incubate these firms for a fixed duration, if required.
"We want to encourage companies offering disruptive solutions to build capabilities in the education and employment technology space", said Himanshu Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO, Aspiring Minds.
Founded in 2007, Aspiring Minds offers employability assessments, connecting talent, talent benchmarking and analytics to information technology, small and medium enterprises, hospitality, life sciences, banking, financial services and insurance, knowledge process outsourcing and information technology enabled services.
Aspiring Minds claims to be serving more than 1,100 corporations and 4,000 higher education institutions.
In 2011, the firm received an undisclosed amount in Series A funding led by Omidyar Network, besides participation from former Ranbaxy Laboratories CEO DS Brar.
Recently, it acquired Mizcoin, a Noida-based mobile software development firm, for an undisclosed amount.
With the launch of this fund, Aspiring Minds joins a growing list of corporates creating startup funds, including a $10 million venture capital fund floated by Persistent Systems earlier this year to invest in very early stage startups, a $100 million VC fund launched by Wipro Ventures in September last year to invest in early stage startups and a $500 million fund by Infosys to back startups and new ideas—$250 million for Indian companies and the remaining for international firms.
Most recently, Vivek Agarwal, founder of Noida-based LIQVID, known for providing language training & e-learning services, told Techcircle.in that the company is planning to incubate and fund up to five mobile-first startups in the ed-tech space.
Agarwal said the firm is open to invest $5 million for handholding early-stage startups and entrepreneurs with a novel idea.