Bengaluru-based skill development startup Newton School has raised $5 Mn in its Series A round, with US venture capital firm RTP Global leading the funding round. Existing investors Nexus Venture Partners, Prophetic Ventures and Unacademy founders Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh also participated in the funding round, along with Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamoorthy, CRED founder Kunal Shah, Freshworks founder Girish Mathrubootham, Udaan cofounder Sujeet Kumar and Razorpay founders Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar.
Founded in 2019, Newton School focussed on skill development for graduates and professionals with a focus on placement in top tech companies. The company was founded by Nishant Chandra and Siddharth Maheshwari, and claims to have grown its learner base 5x since September 2020, with more than 700 students currently enrolled in the platform. The startup has partnerships with companies such as Zomato, Unacademy, Nykaa, Affle, Publicis Sapient, Thoughtworks, Motorola, Nutanix among others. The startup made it to the Inc42 30 Startups list for 2020 thanks to the growth shown during the golden year for the edtech sector.
In a press statement, Newton School claimed to be profitable, and said the funds raised would be used to expand its user base to over 10,000 learners in 2021. The capital will also be used for recruitment and broaden the AI-based feature set of the personalised learning and placements platform.
At its core, Newton School offers a six-month programme, which includes 1000+ hours of coding, 50+ hours of soft skills training, live projects and mentoring by industry professionals. In recent months, it has launched a women-only programme with the vision of bridging the gender gap in technology. It helps women reskill themselves and personalise their development through the company’s proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms. According to the Bootcamp Market Report, between 74% and 90% of coding students land a programming job within six months of graduation as the demand for such roles are only increasing in the coming months.
Speaking of the model which seeks to connect employers with skilled professionals, cofounder Chandra, said, “On one side you have a million+ college graduates every year with low single digit employability rate and on the other side there are 1000s of companies struggling to find talent. We aim to bridge this massive gap through Newton School’s personalized learning platform. We are building an online academy and solving the deep problem of employability of graduates.”
Like many other edtech platforms focussed on placements, Newton School uses an income-sharing model for revenue, which forgoes up-front fee payments. Students only pay once they are placed in a suitable roles with a company. Under the model, learners get placed at jobs with annual income ranging between INR 5 Lakh to INR 40 Lakh. “Our fee model allows people to cross financial and location barriers thus democratising access to software development learning. We have a student whose father is an autorickshaw driver and had lost all their livelihood due to covid, he ended up as a software developer in one of top edtech startups and is taking care of his family now,” added cofounder Maheshwari.
Newton School competes with startups such as Pesto Tech, AttainU, Josh Skills, Sequoia-backed Scaler Academy and Y Combinator-backed Lambda School in the upskilling and placements segment. Delhi NCR-based Pesto Tech raised fresh funds in October last year, adding a set of prolific angels after raising $2 Mn from Matrix Partners and others in May 2019.