Bengaluru-based edtech startup, Multibhashi, has recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding from RareJob and other investors. This is the first time that a Japan-based English tutorial company has made such an investment in an Indian edtech startup.
The funding is said to be utilised towards the development of technology, enhancement of product, hiring of team and acquisition of new users in the country.
In an email interaction, Multibhashi told Inc42 that the company plans to educate more Indians, especially the blue and grey collar workers. It also said that it aspired to become a go-to player for anyone trying to learn English.
Moreover, Multibhashi also plans to expand to other Indian languages and neighbouring countries, which have a similar economic profile and aspirations to learn English.
Gaku Nakamura, the president and representative director of RareJob, said in a press statement, it has one of the largest English tutor networks across Japan. The RareJob is currently in an expansion phase and believes that this investment presents an opportunity to build a strong partnership in India. “Multibhashi aligning with our business has led us to make a small investment in the company to further channelise our growth in India,” Nakamura added.
Founded in 2007, RareJob is one of the leading online English as a Second language (ESL) schools in Japan and the Philippines. It connects students to home-based tutors via an online platform or video chat for English lessons. In June 2019, RareJob also invested in Thailand’s online English conversation operator called ‘Globish.’
Excited about this partnership, Anuradha Agarwal, the founder of Multibhashi, said that the company is looking forward to learning from the Japanese player’s experience of having scaled the product and the team in a competitive market.
Multibhashi, which uses an android application to teach users languages, started its journey in 2016. The latest version of the platform has audio-visual courses and quizzes to learn English from Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and vice versa.
The platform offers free sign up for its users for limited content and later can be upgraded to other learning models, which will include self-learning plus personalised learning from the tutors. The premium courses can range from anywhere between INR 200 to INR 5K. In addition to this, the platform leverages chatbot and community learning features for an immersive experience.
In 2017, Multibhashi had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from angel investor Aniruddha Malpani, alongside Startup Oasis, a joint venture of the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation and the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at IIM Ahmedabad.
Further, talking about the growth story, Multibhashi told Inc42 that it has grown 16x times, i.e., from one lakh users in 2017 to 1.6 Mn users in 2019. The company also said that it has 200k users active on a monthly basis and an average engagement of nine minutes.
Multibhashi claimed to have recorded a revenue run rate of approximately $300K and is said to be profitable at EBITDA level (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation).
According to Inc42 Datalabs report in 2017, edtech startups came fourth in terms of the total funding with 23 deals. Also, as per the recent NASSCOM report, more than 3K edtech startups have been incorporated in the last five years. The funding has increased by 5x from 2013 to 2016. In the last five years, more than 20 active investors have invested about $600 Mn, where 42% went to online courses, 23% to technology and 18% to tutoring.