College admissions startup AdmitKard has raised Rs 50 crore ($6 million) in Series A funding, led by global edtech investor firm GSV Ventures, a top executive told VCCircle.
Marquee angels including Cred's Kunal Shah, direct-to-consumer unicorn Mamaearth’s Varun Alagh also participated in the round, along with a few existing angel investors.
Noida-based AdmitKard caters to the ‘study abroad’ market, helping students to apply for higher education in universities and colleges in US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
“We are using the proceeds in expanding our product portfolio apart from admissions,” said Piyush Bhartiya, co-founder. The startup wants “go broader in terms of helping the students in financing education, scholarships, enabling them in getting accommodation, and various other challenges that they face while going through admissions.”
AdmitKard, which is operated by Pineyards Solutions Pvt. Ltd, was co-founded by Bhartiya and Rachit Agrawal in 2016. It offers a tech-based ‘course-to-career’ solution to simplify university admissions.
Further, it is also looking to expand the way it acquires students. Presently, it has students from over 70 cities in India that apply for admissions through AdmitKard.
“We are looking at approaching the market in different ways. Students from more than 250 cities are going abroad from India,” he said. “We are looking at new go to market strategies, which we will experiment with and look at having deeper reach in these cities.”
The startup runs on a freemium model, with its primary services being made available to all students. Educational institutions also pay the company a royalty fee for promotion and marketing, he added.
AdmitKard currently has about 200 employees. “We'll be looking at doubling the team size over the next 12 to 18 months,” he added.
The fundraise comes amid a turmoil in the edtech market, which has seen thousands of employees laid off in the last year, owing to a tough macro-economic environment. The biggest companies in the sector include Byju’s, Unacademy have slashed a part of the workforce to save jobs.
Earlier this month, unicorn Unacademy said it will not offer cash appraisals to employees this year. Byju’s has fired about 1,500 employees, including senior executives, in a second round of layoffs in four months. The company has fired over 1,000 employees amid liquidty crunch.
The environment has impacted startups beyond the edtech sector. Last week, digital entertainment platform Pocket Aces Pictures Pvt Ltd has laid off 50 employees or about 20% of its workforce as part of a corporate restructuring drive, joining the long list of Indian startups that have been trimming their headcount to cut costs. Other companies in the list include FarEye, Swiggy, OLX Group, ShareChat among others.