Delhi-based test prep startup Avanti raises $1.5M in Series A from MSDF, Pearson Fund

Delhi-based test prep startup Avanti Learning Centres has raised Rs 9.6 crore ($1.5 million) in second and its Series A round of funding led by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, with participation from existing investor Pearson Affordable Learning Fund (PALF), the company has said.

Existing co-investors Ted Dintersmith and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation have joined PALF and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation as second round co-investors in Avanti.

The company will utilise the latest round of funding to increase its presence in tier II and tier III towns across India.

“This investment aligns with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s growing education portfolio of initiatives that focus on school completion, college admission and eventual entry of students from low-income families into the fast growing knowledge economy of India,” Prachi Windlass, director of Education, India, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation said.

Founded in March 2010 by Akshay Saxena and Krishna Ramkumar as a non-profit entity, Mumbai-based Avanti Learning helps prepare students from low-income families for their college entrance tests. The firm uses blended-learning content (videos, classroom activities and testing) and classroom technology to provide IIT JEE coaching at low cost across India.

At present, the education startup has its centres in cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kanpur, Dehradun, Roorkee and Puducherry.

Launched in July 2012 by publishing and education services company Pearson Plc, PALF makes minority equity investments in for-profit companies operating in the affordable education services in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The fund aims to improve access to quality education for the poorest families in the world.

In September, it invested Rs 1.6 crore (over $260,000) in Bangalore-based Experifun Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd, which designs next generation science learning aids. This was PALF’s seventh investment. In May, PALF invested an undisclosed amount in Mumbai-based Zaya Learning Pvt Ltd, which operates under the brand name Zaya Labs, for a minority stake in the company.

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