IIT-Bombay Education Start-up InOpen Raises $0.5M
InOpen Technologies, an IIT Bombay-based start-up which develops educational content and teacher training solutions, has raised $500,000 in seed funding from Ventureast Tenet Fund II, an early-stage investor.
The funds will be used for research, hiring and growing its network of camps and centres for training students and teachers.
Ventureast Tenet Fund II executes early or seed-stage investments and is a part of Ventureast, a venture capital and private equity firm with over $300 million under management and offices in Chennai and Hyderabad. Ventureast has invested in 50 businesses in India and abroad, primarily in technology, healthcare and life sciences, cleantech and other emerging sectors. It has now acquired a minority stake in InOpen.
InOpen designs and develops educational content and solutions for academic institutions. A total of 52 schools, such as SSRV and Indus World group of schools, have tied up with the company. It currently serves a total of 40,000 students and expects to reach the target of one million students in the next two years.
InOpen's flagship product is Computer Masti â€“ an e-book and a bundle of software games. It is the result of a collaboration with IIT Bombay and has witnessed over 75,000 downloads in the past two years, from 120 countries. An average of 200-300 downloads per day have been recorded by the company.
Rupesh Kumar Shah, co-founder and CEO of InOpen Technologies, said, "The investment from Ventureast will be instrumental to scale the operation pan-India. We work as a content provider, offering customised content across different schools. We also plan to offer alternative methods of teaching computer science in camps and centres."
InOpen was founded in October, 2009, by Dr Sridhar Iyer, a professor at IIT Bombay, and Rupesh Shah, who was previously involved with training college individuals in open source and adult literacy. After investing an initial start-up capital of Rs 15 lakh, the promoters raised Rs 50 lakh via loans.
Incubated at IIT Bombay as a content generation and resource training firm, InOpen tied up with 20 schools in the first year of operations to teach students how to leverage computer science effectively. It has now diversified into developing content for ICT implementation for government projects and setting up of camps and centres in Maharashtra where students and teachers are given training. The start-up claims that it had grown 10x to reach Rs 1 crore in revenue in 2010-11 and is on its way to the target of Rs 5.5 crore in the next fiscal.
"InOpen addresses fundamental issues in the delivery of education; its business model involves multiple layers, which differentiates it from other businesses in the education space. Their research acumen in creating content and high quality benchmarks in training makes the firm very confident about its future," said Anuradha Ramachandran, Principal at Ventureast.