Telecom giant Bharti Airtel has acquired a 10% stake in edtech startup Lattu Kids for an undisclosed amount.
Airtel had launched its startup accelerator programme, in October 2019, to support the growth of early-stage Indian tech startups. The telecom giant had also developed strong in-house capabilities using these new-age technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to help startups more effectively.
Under the programme, Airtel helps its portfolio companies by ensuring access to its over 300 Mn customers, online and offline distribution network, deep market understanding and ecosystem of global strategic partners. Besides this, Airtel’s executive team also offers advisory services to these portfolio companies.
Airtel’s investment in Lattu Kids, will allow the telecom major to add edtech to its premium digital content portfolio and offer quality learning material compiled by the company. Airtel claims to have over 160 Mn monthly active users across its digital platforms — Airtel Thanks app, Airtel Xstream app and Wynk Music.
Mumbai-based Lattu Kids, founded in 2017 by Vivek Lath, Vivek Bhutyani and Arvind Kumar, offers learning and development content through streaming platform for kids between three to eight years of age.
Commenting on the investment, Bhutyani, CEO of Lattu Kids, said, “With Airtel, we have found an equally passionate partner and our synergies in this space will allow us to scale Lattu to millions of kids in India across classes and make it a much-loved homegrownn edtech brand.”
Since the lockdown to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian edtech startups have notice a spike in usage. The platforms besides providing quality content, turned out to be an alternative to schools conducting online classes on video conferencing tools.
Talking to Inc42, Gradeup cofounder and CEO Shibhit Bhatnagar, said, “the current situation is certainly an opportunity for edtech, it is somewhat similar to what demonetisation was for digital payments. We are witnessing an increase in digital consumption of educational services. A change is occurring in the student’s behaviour; there is a willingness to try and learn online.”
Within the first week of lockdown, Gradeup noted an increase of 25% to 45% users, with JEE and NEET courses gaining high tractions. Meanwhile, Byju’s which is one of the most valued edtech startups in the world registered a 150% surge with 6 Mn new students on the platform in March 2020.
However, providing online education to kindergarten and primary school students is proving to be more difficult than anticipated. Recently, the Karnataka government banned all online classes for students from kindergarten to Class 5 due to rising complaints from schools and parents.