Online classifieds platform Info Edge, which runs job portal Naukri.com, real estate site 99acres and Jeevansaathi, has invested $1.9 Mn (INR 12.5 Cr) in Univariety. With this, Info Edge has acquired a minority stake in the Hyderabad-based edtech startup.
As per its BSE filings, the Naukri.com parent has bought 8,855 Series A compulsorily convertible preference shares in Univariety, at $1.5 (INR 100) apiece. In exchange for its investment, Info Edge has acquired a 29.62% stake in the startup.
As per the official release, the funding will be utilised primarily for four things: inbound sales, mobile app, product tie-ups and marketing and brand building. With the newly-secured financing, Univariety is looking to create a marketing strategy that is heavily driven by content and research in order to generate inbound interest from schools. The startup will deploy deep analytics to engage with its customers and add value.
Additionally, the investments will enable the platform to hire a written and video-based content team. A portion of the funds will be used to develop the mobile app for iOS. The app, according to the company’s spokesperson, will integrate alumni features for respective schools.
Univariety is also looking to engage with school managements personally and digitally as well as participate in relevant conferences and industry events.
Commenting on the investment, Hitesh Oberoi, Co-Promoter, MD and CEO of Info Edge said, “Top colleges like IIT’s and IIM’s are known for their placements and alumni network. Univariety is bringing that same awareness and those systems at the K-12 School level. We believe that thousands of schools are interested in shaping student success and aligning to future trends. Univariety can play a strong role in helping position such schools uniquely.”
Univariety: Offering Educational Counselling To 80,000+ Students
Owned and operated by International Educational Gateway, Univariety is envisioned as an online marketplace with students at the centre of the college admission process. Colleges, counsellors and test experts, in turn, provide customised guidance and offers.
Launched in 2011 by Jaideep Gupta and incorporated in 2015, the platform offers educational counselling and related services to schools and colleges, both offline and online through its website and other third-party portals.
Through Univariety, students can evaluate their admission chances for 60,000+ courses at up to 3,000 universities across eight countries. Additionally, they have access to expert advice on college admission as well as application guidance. Universities, on the other hand, can offer direct benefits like application fee waivers, scholarships and personalised guidance to prospective students through the platform.
To that end, Univariety has partnered with over 400 private high schools across 30 cities in India and has also set up college placement cells within partner high schools. So far, the edtech startup currently offers its services to more than 80,000 senior school students.
As per its regulatory filings, the company reported an annual turnover of $686.8K (INR 4.4 Cr) at the end of March 2017.
Speaking about the latest fundraise, Jaideep Gupta, founder and CEO of Univariety said, “Info Edge is truly a pioneer in the internet space and has wide-ranging expertise. I am thrilled to partner with them in our exciting journey. These funds will be utilized in developing a stronger sales & marketing system and in upgrading our product to suit the mobile environment fully. We are confident of the impact we have on our partner schools and now we will be able to reach out to a larger audience.”
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. The gain in revenue came on the back of the rise in net sales of the firm’s recruitment solutions division, which includes Naukri.com.
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.
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. Later in the month of September, Info Edge invested another $1.3 Mn (INR 8.6 Cr) in Canvera Digital Technologies, increasing its stake in the startup to 62%.
Last month, Delhi-based Meritnation raised $5.8 Mn (INR 38 Cr) from Info Edge, in exchange 66% stake in the elearning startup. 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.
Most recently, it pumped about $871K (INR 5.66 Cr) in Nopaperforms Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and also made a follow-on investment of $770K (INR 5 Cr) in HappilyUnmarried Pvt. Ltd.
Online Education: A $1.96 Bn Giant In The Making
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.
Armed with the $1.9 Mn funding from Info Edge, edtech startup Univariety 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, among others.