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Ed-tech firm Toppr raises $35 mn in Series C funding round

Ed-tech firm Toppr raises $35 mn in Series C funding round
Zishaan Hayath, co-founder & CEO, Toppr

Mumbai-based Toppr Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs an eponymous ed-tech startup, has raised $35 million (Rs 245.19 crore at current exchange rates) in a Series C funding round from new and existing investors, a company statement said.

The round was co-led by the firm's existing investors Eight Roads Ventures, Helion Ventures, SAIF Partners and new backer education-focused private equity firm Kaizen Management Advisors Pvt. Ltd. The ed-tech startup's other existing investor venture debt provide Alteria Capital and new investor Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity arm of media house Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL) also participated in the round, the statement added.

“A robust pedagogical approach that keeps students engaged and delivers outcomes, thoughtful use of artificial intelligence and a strong management team are aspects of Toppr that convinced us about the company’s ability to continue making a significant positive difference to the way children learn,” Sandeep Aneja, managing partner, Kaizen PE said in the statement.

Zishaan Hayath, co-founder and chief executive of Toppr, had also confirmed the development with TechCircle.

Toppr will use the fresh capital primarily for branding, product awareness and to ramp up product features, he said.

In October, TechCircle had reported that the company was looking to raise up to $20 million (Rs 147 crore then) from the above-mentioned existing investors and Kaizen.

According to back-of-the-envelope estimates by TechCircle, the investment, which is likely to be Toppr’s Series C round, will value the company between $125 million and $130 million (Rs 875.68 crore and Rs 911 crore).

In December last year, Toppr had raised Rs 45 crore (around $7 million) as part of an extended Series B round from SAIF Partners, Helion Ventures and FIL Capital Management, part of Eight Road Ventures.

In February this year, Toppr’s valuation stood at $60 million after it had raised an undisclosed sum from Axis Capital Partners.

In May this year, it had raised 15.5 crore ($2.3 million) in venture debt from Alteria Capital.

Toppr

The ed-tech startup was founded in 2013 by IIT Bombay alumni Hayath and Hemanth Goteti. Prior to setting up Toppr, Hayath founded a phone-commerce startup Chaupaati Bazaar, while Goteti was head of engineering at e-commerce platform Futurebazaar.com and held stints at Chaupaati Bazaar, Qlip Media, Synechron and Ubiquity Inc.

Hayath is also an angel investor and has invested in firms such as Housing.com and Ola. In September 2010, Chaupaati Bazaar was acquired by Future Group. He also operated an angel investment group called Powai Lake Ventures.

Toppr is a test preparation platform for engineering, medical and secondary school students. The firm covers exams such as IIT JEE and BITSAT in engineering; NEET, AIIMS, AIPMT, AFMC, MT-CET and EAMCET in medical; and NTSE, NSO, NSTSE and KVPY, among others. It uses artificial intelligence-based machine learning algorithms to personalise learning paths for every student, the statement added.

Users are charged fees ranging from Rs 250 per month to Rs 6,900 for three years, depending on the course and duration selected.

The venture claims to have 29,000 educators from across the country on its network who have contributed to more than 1.5 million learning pieces, including questions, solutions, concepts and videos. Likewise, through its ed-tech platform, the company claims that its users have solved close to four million doubts, taken three million tests and have practiced over 300 million questions. 

In April 2015, Toppr acquired EasyPrep, an online entrance exam preparation platform, for an undisclosed amount.

For the financial year 2016-17, the company's operating revenue more than doubled to Rs 6.49 crore from Rs 3.06 crore in the previous year. Gross expenses rose to Rs 48.3 crore from Rs 26.48 crore as staff costs doubled to Rs 24.47 crore. Other expenses, which include marketing expenses and other administrative overheads, climbed to Rs 22.4 crore from Rs 13.4 crore. Consequently, net losses widened to Rs 41.89 crore from Rs 23.41 crore.

Recent deals in ed-tech

Earlier this month, Byju’s , which is the most funded Indian ed-tech startup and also a unicorn, raised $540 million (Rs 3,855 crore at current exchange rates) in a round led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) also contributed a significant portion to the massive funding round.

Around the same time, PlanetSpark, a Gurugram-based gamified learning solutions startup, also raised Rs 1.6 crore from FIITJEE Ltd, the test preparation company backed by Matrix Partners India.

Last month, Gurugram-based online learning platform Career Anna, which provides video-based test preparation and certification courses, raised Rs 4 crore (approximately $572,000 then ) from a group of angel investors represented by Subinder Khurana.

In the same month, online tutoring startup Vedantu Innovations Pvt. Ltd raised $11 million (around Rs 78 crore then) in a Series B funding round led by impact investment firm Omidyar Network.

Likewise, ed-tech company Genius Corner Educom Pvt. Ltd raised Rs 2 crore ($278,000 then) from a clutch of angel investors.

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