New Delhi-based higher education company Shahani Group’s Smart Institute has raised $1.5 Mn in Series A round led by investment firm Ah! Ventures. Some high networth individuals and family offices, names of whom Smart Institute did not reveal, also invested in the round. German Boutique Investment Bank and IED Investment Banking Group assisted with the fundraise.
With this funding, Smart Institute plans to enhance its edtech application Ask.Careers, hire developers and learning experts and venture into 30 new cities from the existing four locations within five years. Eventually, the company wants to venture into Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions. In addition, the company aims to invest in other edtech startups through Ask.Careers.
Ask.Careers provides career oriented diplomas in disciplines such as banking, real estate, digital marketing and management, among other courses. The company offers these courses through “blended learning model”, which is basically offline courses that are also available online.
Shahani Group MD Akhil Shahani said the demand for job-ready professionals has pushed students and learners towards smart classrooms, learning apps, on-the-go learning devices, which Ask.Careers is looking to capitalise on.
The Smart Institute runs the famed Thadomal Shahani Centre For Management (TSCFM) And engineering colleges in Mumbai, partnering with British Universities and qualifications bodies to bring global management courses in India. The company has similar courses for students studying media and communication, and career counseling . It has over 24 colleges in Mumbai and five medical centres.
According to DataLabs by Inc42, Indian edtech startups raised approximately $700 Mn in 2018, registering an 85% hike compared to the $375 Mn funding raised in 2017. Interestingly, BYJU’s had emerged out as the big gun of edtech startups since the company had received the funding of $230 from the total $375 Mn in 2017.
The report also highlights that only 7% of total 3,500 registered edtech startups operating in the space are funded, as of 2018, whereas 182 edtech startups generated $1.34 Bn funding between 2014 to 2018. Out of these, only 52 startups, making up for 28.5%, received more than $1 Mn in funding which amounts to $1.3 Bn. Meaning that the 52 startups comprised 99% of the total funding in the period.
A report by KPMG suggests that online education market is poised to touch $1.96 Bn by 2021. Upskilling and online certification courses are popular segment of the online education market and comprise of 38% traction of the online higher education market, the report added.