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Ed-tech firm Smart Institute bags funding from ah! Ventures
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Smart Institute, an education technology firm, has raised $1.5 million (approximately Rs 10.71 crore at current exchange rates) in a funding round from a clutch of investors led by the Mumbai-based ah! Ventures.

The Mumbai-based ed-tech firm said in a statement that a group of high net-worth individual investors and family offices also participated in the investment.

The company will use the funds to expand its presence across 30 cities in India within the next five years, with additional plans to invest in its ed-tech platform application ask.CAREERS.

The fundraise, the firm said, is part of a larger $30 million financing round.

Smart Institute is part of the Shahani Group, which focusses on providing students with career enhancement skills through academic initiatives.

Akhil Shahani, managing director at Shahani Group, said the latest funding indicates increased confidence amongst investors of the scalability of the firm’s employability model.

“We expect to raise up to $15 million in the next 4-5 months, and reach a funding amount of $30 million by the end of 2020,” he said.

The group has appointed European boutique investment bank IEG Investment Banking to assist with the fundraising. The company is seeking to raise the capital from local family offices, global institutional investors and global strategic players.

Smart Institute says it runs brands like the Thadomal Shahani Centre For Management and the Thadomal Shahani Centre For Media and Communication. The company says its ask.CAREERS platform will help candidates with their critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management skills.

Deals in the ed-tech segment

The online learning and ed-tech segment has attracted considerable investor interest of late. For instance, the valuation of ed-tech firm Byju’s crossed $5 billion after it raised $31.3 million in a funding round in March led by existing investors General Atlantic and Tencent Holdings Ltd. 

In December last year, Byju’s announced it secured $540 million (Rs 3,855 crore then) in a round led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers.

Last month, Sunstone Eduversity Pvt. Ltd has raised Rs 11.3 crore (around $1.56 million) in a seed funding round led by Bengaluru-based Prime Venture Partners and joined by LetsVenture, PS1 Venture and GlobalLogic co-founder Rajul Garg.

In October, Info Edge (India) Ltd, which owns and operates portals such as job site Naukri.com, said it invested Rs 7.06 crore (a little less than $1 million) in Adda247, a test preparation platform for government and public-sector exams.

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