Byju’s backers Prosus, Zuckerberg foundation bet on Eruditus
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Eruditus Learning Solutions Pte Ltd, which offers executive learning programmes, has raised $113 million (Rs 828 crore) in its Series D round of funding led by Prosus Ventures, a spin-off from South African investment firm Naspers.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative—the philanthropic foundation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan—and US-based ed-tech-focussed fund Leeds Illuminate also came on board as new investors.

This is Leeds Illuminate’s debut investment in an Indian company, Eruditus said in a statement. Prosus is an active investor in Indian startups and counts ed-tech unicorn Byju’s and food delivery firm Swiggy among its local bets. The Zuckerberg foundation has also previously invested in Byju’s.

Eruditus said its existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Ved Capital also contributed in this round.

The transaction includes both primary and secondary components, the company said. It didn’t disclose the breakup or the identity of the seller.

Avendus Capital acted as the financial adviser on the transaction.

“Covid-19 is dramatically accelerating change across higher education. We are engaging more deeply with universities worldwide to help them expand their online portfolio and global footprint,” said Ashwin Damera, CEO at Eruditus.

Eruditus claims to have enrolled 50,000 students over the past 12 months. The firm employs over 650 employees across offices in five countries, besides India.

"Education technology is a major focus for Prosus Ventures, and we now have six ed-tech portfolio companies spanning education across K-12, vocational upskilling, lifelong learning, and now higher education with the inclusion of Eruditus,” said Ashutosh Sharma, head of investments for India at Prosus. 

Eruditus was founded in 2010 by INSEAD graduate Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Harvard Business School alumnus Damera. Kalipatnapu had previously worked with Sun Microsystems. Damera, a chartered accountant, was in the past associated with Citibank and had also founded travel website Travelguru.com.

Eruditus offers customised and open business programmes in India, Singapore and Dubai, among other locations. It collaborates with experts from business schools such as MIT Sloan, INSEAD and Wharton to deliver its programmes, which take place in the form of workshops, modular sessions and online courses.

The company’s clients include Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, HSBC, Vodafone, Accenture and Asian Paints.

In January 2019, the firm had raised $40 million in its Series C round of funding led by Sequoia. It had secured around $8.2 million in a Series B round from Bertelsmann India in 2017.

Eruditus competes with online certification course provider Simplilearn Learning Solutions, which is backed by investors such as Kalaari Capital and Helion Ventures, and Lumis Partners-backed TalentEdge.

Education startups have attracted a lot of investor attention over the last few years, and more so during the coronavirus pandemic that has forced schools, colleges and universities to shut down.

Last week, for example, Byju's raised $122 million in funding from DST Global. Earlier this month, Byju's bought WhiteHat Jr, which focuses on coding education, for $300 million.

In July, Vedantu Innovation Pvt. Ltd raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by US-based investment firm Coatue Management. Also last month, Lightbox Ventures led a $7.2 million pre-Series B funding round in Flinto.

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