Edtech company, NEST Education (Naandi Education And Support Training) has raised $600K in follow-on funding from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD of the Mahindra Group.
NEST Education has deployed Alphabyte – The Learning Centre, which are high-quality learning centres for less privileged children. According to an official statement, Alphabyte aims to significantly raise education quality across urban India. With this round of funding, NEST Education aims to grow its outreach to a larger number of students and achieve its goal of educating 10,000 students by FY 2022.
Commenting on the funding, Debasish Mitter, India Country Director, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation said, “NEST, through its blended learning model, is delivering best-in-class education content and solution to underserved students and preparing them to succeed in modern India. We find the ability of NEST to aggregate content from around the world and to deliver multiple products through their centres very appealing.”
NEST Education: Using Technology Physically To Upskill The Underprivileged
Rahul Ranjan is the founder and CEO of Gurugram-based Naandi Education and Support Training, NEST. The core leadership consists of Richa Hans who handles the academic development side and Harjot Bains who handles business ops.
NEST’s Alphabyte uses technology to fast-track the learning of every student through customised learning modules that are curated from the best knowledge providers. They have programs catering to IIT-JEE modules, English learning to become job smart, a training programme to teach pre-school internationally and ‘Genius learning.’
NEST Education is currently operational in three learning centres, two in Gurugram and one in Delhi. As per the website, the company counts entities such as ConveGenius (another startup backed by The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation) and Avanti as their learning partners.
“We at NEST work towards building an empowered society by creating learning opportunities for different teaching-learning age groups, leveraging best possible EdTech solutions globally. Continued support from our investors and their understanding of social challenges are definitely vital to our motivation and adds value to our operations,” said Rahul Ranjan, founder and CEO.
Queries sent to NEST Education awaited reply at the time of publication.
The Michael And Susan Dell Foundation And Edtech Funding Connect
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has recently expressed an interest in setting up an incubator for startups who are serving the underprivileged and underserved segments of India. Since 2006, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has invested more than $172 Mn (INR 1,100 Cr) in non-profit and social enterprises in India. In May 2016, Foundation earmarked an additional $50 Mn (about INR 333 Cr) towards investments in the country over the next three years.
The foundation has previously backed ConveGenius, an edutainment startup.
Edtech in India has been a relatively slumbering market as compared to fintech and other tech verticals. But, according to the ASER 2016 report, the market for K12 education is significantly higher, with 250 Mn students across 1.4 Mn schools. The next best viable market is vocational training, states a Unitus Seed Fund report on edtech with 16% entrepreneurs preferring the space.
The report states, “As of 2013, a dismal 7 per cent of India’s working population had received some sort of vocational training. Fortunately, the Government of India has acknowledged the need to address this issue, and has set itself on an ambitious target to up skill 500 million Indians by 2022 through the National Policy for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship 2015.”
While most investors are averse to taking risks in the vocational training space, with investors such as the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Anand Mahindra, companies such as NEST can hope to take on the mammoth task of skilling/upskilling India’s underprivileged population. As of now, NEST competes with heavily funded startups such as BYJU’s, Toppr, Coursera who have a significant online presence and hope to take a share of the edtech market that has a potential to touch $1.96 Bn by 2021 from where it stands now i.e. $247 Mn.