Test preparation centre Allen Career Institute, which counts James Murdoch and Uday Shankar-backed Bodhi Tree Systems as its key investor, has appointed a former Marigold Park Capital executive Nitin Kukreja, as its chief executive officer.
Kukreja’s appointment comes in just short of a year after the coaching firm marked its foray into online edtech space with the roll out of its digital arm.
In his new role, Kukreja will help Allen in driving its digital-first consumer business at scale by expanding reach from current 3 lakh to 2.5 crore students. The company plans to strengthen its digital team based out of Bengaluru, to 200 employees by the end of the year.
“I believe that technology can multiply Allen’s positive impact manifold,” said Kukreja.
He has over 20 years of experience in leadership, strategy and investing roles across multiple sectors. Earlier, he was the managing director at investment advisor Marigold Park Capital Advisors (formerly Lupa Systems), where he led investments in consumer tech companies.
Prior to that, he held the chief executive role at Star Sports and was also associated with Star India between 2007 and 2017.
Allen Career Institute, founded by Rajesh Maheshwari in 1988, offers a range of programs, including classroom coaching, distance learning, online tests and study material, tailored to the needs of students at different levels. It has over 200 classroom centres across 53 cities in India.
Brajesh Maheshwari, chairman, Allen Career Institute, said, “Nitin has been associated with Allen as a board member and made invaluable contributions in defining the strategic roadmap for the platform.”
The key investor Bodhi Tree Systems agreed to invest $600 million in Allen last year for a minority stake, valuing the test prep business above $1 billion, VCCircle reported.
Bodhi Tree, established in 2021, makes strategic investments in consumer technology across Southeast Asia and the Middle East, with a particular focus on India.
India’s edtech startups such as Byju’s, upGrad, Vedantu and Unacademy raised millions of dollars from venture capital and private equity investors over 2020-2021 as movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic boosted demand for online education. But capital flow has slowed since, as offline teaching resumed, putting pressure on these companies.
The edtech sector recorded a 39% decline in funding last year to $423 million from $785 million in 2021, as per a report by the Impact Investors Council (IIC).