E-learning firm Liqvid to incubate ed-tech startups
Noida-based Liqvid, better known for providing language training & e-learning services, aims to incubate and fund upto five mobile-first startups in the ed-tech space.
Liqvid is open to spending upto $5 million for handholding early-stage startups and entrepreneurs with a novel idea, its founder Vivek Agarwal told Techcircle.in.
"We are now looking to leverage our content and technology by incubating young and passionate entrepreneurs who will create large mobile-first B2C businesses in the ed-tech space. We will commit funding and provide technology and mentoring," Agarwal, who is also CEO of LIQVID eLearning Services Pvt Ltd, which owns Liqvid, said.
"This approach will dramatically reduce the go-to-market time for the entrepreneur and help in rapidly achieving scale," he added.
Liqvid wants to associate itself with startups that focus on online test preparation, online vocational training, language training and other areas within ed-tech. Liqvid is not floating a separate fund yet but will dip into its balance sheet for the investments.
Agarwal, an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, earlier co-founded e-learning portal eGurucool.com, which was backed by News Corp and IFC, Washington. eGurucool was acquired by NIIT in 2003
"Education as an industry is ripe for disruption - we expect that there will be atleast one unicorn to come out of this space in the next few years," said Agarwal.
Founded in 2002, Noida-based Liqvid initially focussed on e-learning solutions for corporates. Later, it started EnglishEdge, an English language learning software.
In February 2011, the company raised close to $1 million from LeapStart Trust and followed it up by scooping $3 million in 2012 from a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, Japan. The company used the bulk of the second round of funding for EnglishEdge.
Today, Liqvid's products are available at over 1,000 locations across 300 cities. Its clients include schools, premier institutions and corporates, such as the IITs, Cairn Energy and the Essar Group.
The ed-tech space has been generating tremendous interest among investors. Earlier this month, MockBank, a startup that provides online mock tests for government jobs, raised about $400,000 (Rs 2.6 crore) in seed funding from Blume Ventures and others.
Recently, Prozo.com, an online marketplace for buying and selling study material, secured seed funding of $205,000 (Rs 1.37 crore) from a group of investors.
US-based Coursera Inc, an education technology company that partners with universities to offer courses online, also secured $49.5 million in the first closing of Series C funding from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Times Internet (TIL) and others investors.