Delhi-based elearning platform Meritnation has raised $5.8 Mn (INR 38 Cr) from online classifieds platform Info Edge, which runs job portal Naukri.com, real estate site 99acres and Jeevansaathi. As per its BSE filings, Info Edge has pumped over $20.7 Mn (INR 134 Cr) in the online education startup across three rounds so far.

With the latest funding round, the parent of Naukri.com now holds a 66% stake in Meritnation.

Of the newly-raised capital, around $5 Mn will be spent on paying off some of Meritnation’s debt on its books, states the filing. The remaining amount will be infused towards scaling the startup’s daily operations.

Meritnation: Integrating Technology To Make Education More Accessible

Founded in 2007 by Pavan Chauhan and Ritesh Hemrajani, the elearning platform targets K-12 students across various educational boards like CBSE, ICSE and State Boards such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Owned by Applect Learning Systems, the platform which can be accessed on iOS and Android platforms, has study related apps like Tables App, IIT JEEnius Mobile Apps to make studies easy and interactive for students.

 At present, the company claims to have over 9.5 Mn active users across nine countries, up from 9 Mn students in 2015. It also has a repository of more than 14,000 animated videos, tests, homework help forums and interactive exercises.

Meritnation Live, which was made available in 2014 for students of grades 6 to 12, offers online classes for JEE and AIPMT entrance exams. Through this platform, Meritnation avails IIT professionals to teach the students along with tracking every student’s progress closely and displaying personalised recommendations. Complying with its delivery of personalised and engaging content model, the company had rolled out Meritnation Junior in April 2014.

Around the same time, the elearning platform launched a franchise model at 6 offline centres in Chandigarh and  Lucknow. The model was originally tested in 2012 when Meritnation opened a centre in Gurgaon and subsequently launching four more centres in Jaipur two years later.

Earlier in June 2015, the elearning startup secured funding of $4 Mn from Info Edge. At the time, founder and CEO of Meritnation told Inc42 that the funds would be utilised to ramp up the technology for Meritnation Live and increase the number of employees in the organisation.

Info Edge: An Overview

Incorporated in May 1995, Info Edge is the parent company of a number of online portals, including 99acres, Naukri.com, matrimony classifieds Jeevansathi.com, and online education platform Shiksha.com. It currently boasts a workforce of more than 4,000 employees in 62 offices across 43 cities in India.

As per the company’s latest filings, it has seen around 7% increase in operational revenues in the second quarter of FYY 2017-18 to $34.7 Mn (INR 225.2 Cr) from $32.4 Mn (INR 209.9 Cr) in Q2 2016.

Over the years, the investment arm of Info Edge has backed several early-stage Internet-based startup ventures. Among them are Zomato, Mydala, PolicyBazaar, HappilyUnmarried, VCare, Unnati, and  Goa-headquartered Vacation Labs. In December 2015, Canvera Digital secured $2.2 Mn (INR 15 Cr) funding from Info Edge.

Later in January of the same year, the company invested $1 Mn software services provider, Rare Media, in exchange for a 35% stake. The move, as per reports, was aimed at bolstering the growth and expansion of Info Edge’s subsidiary 99acres.

Online gifting platform HappilyUnmarried received a $740K funding boost from Info Edge in July last year. A couple of months later, the company poured $2.3 Mn into Bengaluru-based online photography startup Canvera. In December, phone directory app Diro Labs raised $147K (INR 1 Cr) through optionally convertible cumulative redeemable preference shares from Info Edge.

This year in April, the company acquired AmbitionBox to enhance the overall experience of Naukri users. Two months later, in July, online beauty services provider BigStylist raised $1.2 Mn (INR 8 Cr) in a funding round led by Info Edge. Most recently, in the month of September, Info Edge invested another $1.3 Mn (INR 8.6 Cr) in Canvera Digital Technologies.

Online education in India will see approximately 8x growth in the next five years, says a recent report by Google, KPMG. This will have a significant impact on the edtech market that has a potential to touch $1.96 Bn by 2021 from where it stands now i.e. $247 Mn.

As per Inc42 Datalabs Report for H1 2017, edtech took the fourth spot with 23 deals in the sector. Armed with the $5.8 Mn funding from Info Edge, elearning startup Meritnation is gearing up to compete with a number of emerging players in this segment including BYJU’S, Unacademy, Coursera, UCLID, Avagmah, iProf, Simplilearn and Englishleap.

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