iNurture Education Solutions, a Bengaluru-based ed-tech startup that provides formal higher education programmes in India, announced that it has raised Rs 10 crore in debt funding from Mumbai-based new-age venture debt platform, BlackSoil. This is in addition to the undisclosed amount of equity capital the company is raising from its existing investors.
The Bengaluru-based startup said it will use the funds to accelerate its digital higher education platform and meet its working capital requirements. This is the second time Blacksoil Capital has made an investment in iNurture, after it invested in the company in April 2017.
Elaborating on the current situation, Ashwin Ajila, Founder and Managing Director, iNurture, said, “The COVID-19 crisis presents an enormous opportunity for us to support our partners and engage with undergraduate and postgraduate students digitally, and make them career ready, even within the confines of their homes. We are currently in the process of raising an investment round of over $100 million, which we hope to close by the end of the year.Our management team as well as industry and university partners will help us to scale faster than the market through its unique curriculum design and digital readiness.”
Founded in 2009 by Ashwin Ajila, iNurture provides industry relevant graduation and postgraduation degree programmes in partnership with industry and recognised universities in India. The startup claims to be providing end-to-end delivery of programmes – right from admissions to curriculum design and placement.
The company has partnered with over 35 universities across India, delivers over 50 programmes on campus, and has 10,000+ students enrolled in these courses. Its higher education focused online platform is being used by more than 300,000 students.
So far, iNurture has raised around Rs 200 crore in total equity investment from marquee investors like Ascent Capital, Bertelsmann, Ventureast, and Kimera, a Dubai based family office.
Ankur Bansal, Co-Founder and Director, BlackSoil, added, “The unprecedented COVID-19 situation has opened a wide array of opportunities for players like iNurture in the emerging edtech sector. As technology becomes an important catalyst in empowering students across the country, it is definitely the right time for us to take up this mantle. With universities being compelled to shift classes online, we will support iNurture at this time to help them deliver the much-needed courses online through their strong digital platform.”
Launched in 2016 by Mohinder Pal Bansal and Ankur Bansal, Blacksoil’s alternative credit platform claims to have concluded over 40 transactions by deploying more than Rs 400 crore to VC backed growth companies in the past four years. Some of its key investments have been in category leaders such as Oyo Rooms, EarlySalary, Chumbak, LetsTransport, Vogo, and Rentomojo, amongst others.
Earlier in June, iNurture had raised $4 million (Rs 30 crore) from Kimera Ltd, a Dubai-based family office. The company had also said it closed 2019-20 with revenue of about Rs 150 crore and that it had turned profitable in the same financial year.
In January 2018, the startup had raised Rs 28 crore in Series C round of funding led by venture capital firm Ventureast.
Deals in edtech
The larger edtech segment in India has been the object of investor attention over the last few years and especially since the lockdown was imposed in late March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Just last week, Vedantu Innovation Pvt. Ltd raised $100 million in a Series D funding round.
Earlier this month, Lightbox Ventures led a $7.2 million (around Rs 53 crore) pre-Series B funding round in Flinto.
In June, the edtech arm of Sai Estate Consultants Chembur Pvt. Ltd raised funding from Bollywood actor-producer and entrepreneur Suniel Shetty.
Also last month, Inflection Point Ventures invested $150,000 in Edvizo Media Pvt. Ltd.
There have been acquisitions in the space too. Unacademy, which is backed by the likes of Facebook Inc., struck its third reported acquisition of the year last week by picking up a majority stake in Mastree. Other companies it has acquired are medical education platform PrepLadder and online exam preparation startup Kreatryx.
The most heavily-funded startup in the space is Byju’s, which is part of the unicorn club of startups to be valued at $1 billion or more.