Indian online makeup and beauty learning platform Airblack raised $5.2 Mn in Series A round co-led by Info Edge Ventures and Elevation Capital.
This round also saw participation from Atelier Ventures, founded by Li Jin, former Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, along with Ankur Nagpal (founder and CEO, Teachable), Kunal Shah (founder, CRED), Better Capital (early-stage venture fund), Vidit Aatrey (cofounder and CEO, Meesho), Sanjeev Barnwal (cofounder and CTO, Meesho), Sujeet Kumar (cofounder, Udaan), Utsav Somani (partner, AngelList India & Partner, iSeed) and Ashish Gupta (managing director, Helion Ventures).
Founded in 2019 by Videt Jaiswal, Vaibhav Raj Gupta and Pulkit Pujara, Airblack provides live, “do-it-together” (DIT) courses primarily in the beauty and online makeup sectors. Since their pivot towards this segment last year, the company claims to have boarded over 25,000 learners across more than 500 cities. A majority of these are women who have since become freelancers, online creators or home-salon owners.
Proceeds of this funding will be utilised in accelerating the expansion of Beauty Club, launching new clubs and investing in product, engineering and brand. Airblack recently expanded to include a clutch of senior operators from firms such as WhiteHatJr, Bain & Co and Oyo. The company is actively hiring across engineering, design and operations.
Commenting on the freelance landscape of India, Videt Jaiswal, founder and CEO, Airblack said, “The Instagram and Youtube revolution has made people aware that there are hundreds of ways to earn a livelihood. Traditional edtech is just the tip of the iceberg and has been limited to a few skills. We foresee 100 Mn+ people becoming digital creators and freelancers in India in the next five years.”
Vaas Bhaskar, vice president, Elevation Capital added, “The future of work is going to look very different for Millennials and Gen-Z. A perfect storm of new aspirations, decline of old career choices, and new opportunities is brewing. India is already home to the 2nd largest freelancer community in the world; and COVID has only accelerated this trend. We believe that Airblack is well placed to become the learning and enablement brand for millions of internet-first entrepreneurs in the coming decade. We invested in Airblack in their seed round and are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Videt and Vaibhav through this fund raise.”
The edtech sector witnessed a boom during the Covid-19 pandemic. While most of the Indian edtech platforms focus on the K12 segment and competitive exams preparation, online cohort bases courses (CBCs) grew rapidly as various edtech ventures started launching their own programs. While courses in the beauty and makeup industry are relatively new, this sector has definitely grown with attention that companies such as Nykaa and SUGAR have started receiving.