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Chess Academy HobSpace Bags $4.5 Mn In Pre-Series A Funding, Eyes Global Expansion

Chess Academy HobSpace Bags $4.5 Mn In Pre-Series A Funding, Eyes Global Expansion

The funding round was led by Mankekar Family Office, Artha Venture Fund, Siddharth Shah and API Holdings’ Dharmil Sheth, among others

The startup will also use the funding to accelerate product development and ramp up investment in technology

HobSpace claims to have taught chess to more than 15,000 children across the globe with users in countries such as India, the UK, the US, among others

Mumbai-based chess academy HobSpace has raised $4.5 Mn in a pre-Series A funding round led by Mankekar Family Office, Artha Venture Fund, Siddharth Shah and API Holdings’ Dharmil Sheth, among others.

The startup will use the funding to expand globally and accelerate product development. HobSpace will also use the capital to invest in technology to enhance the overall experience for the students.

Founded in 2019 by Priya Goel Sheth, Bhaskar Raju Konduru and Harsh Jain, HobSpace is a global chess learning platform that offers courses for children in the age group 3-14 to learn chess and prepare for international tournaments.

It had raised INR 1 Cr in its last funding round from Inflection Point Ventures in January last year. 

Speaking on the fundraise, Konduru said,  “We are building a world-class online-first, global chess academy. The fresh round of funding will allow us to use technology to expand the global chess community and make chess coaching accessible to children all over the world.”

The startup was originally founded as a platform for extra-curricular activities but pivoted to a chess learning platform last year. HobSpace claims to have taught chess to more than 15,000 children across the globe with users in countries such as India, the UK, the US, among others. The startup also claims to host specialised chess coaches from countries such as India, the US and the UK to train its young users in the game.

HobSpace competes with the likes of Crejo, Kaabil Kids, Victorious Chess Academy, CodingHero, among others. 

In September last year, Deepika Padukone-backed extracurricular edtech startup FrontRow raised $14 Mn in a Series A round led by Eight Roads Ventures, GSV, and existing investors Lightspeed and Elevation Capital. Earlier in 2020, chess maverick Vishwanathan Anand launched a chess academy in collaboration with investment firm WestBridge Capital. 

According to Statista, chess board sales grew from $16 Mn in 2012 to $20.5 Mn in 2016 in India. This number is further expected to rise to $25.5 Mn by the end of 2022. The pandemic, coupled with the rise in popularity of the game, has also spawned a host of online academies cashing in on the popularity of chess. 

A KPMG report said that the Indian online gaming industry, which was worth INR 4,380 Cr in the fiscal year 2018, is expected to grow to INR 11,880 Cr by FY2023 at a CAGR of 22.1%. 

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