Edtech firm LEAD joins unicorn club with $100 mn funding from WestBridge, others
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School edtech platform LEAD has raised $100 million as a part of its Series E funding round led by WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures at unicorn valuation, the company said in a statement on Thursday. 

Unicorns are private companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more.  The edtech platform owned and operated by Leadership Boulevard Pvt Ltd, also rebranded itself as LEAD from LEAD School, the company said.  

The company plans to use the proceeds to expand its user base to over 25 million students and is targeting $1 billion revenue run-rate, LEAD said. The company will be investing in product and curriculum innovation, to expand its footprint and to hire across functions, the company said. LEAD said it also plans to go deeper in the country to serve students in lower fee schools and expand internationally in similar geographies. 

The company, founded by Sumeet Yashpal Mehta and Smita Deorah in 2012, is betting on the surge in demand for online education sparked by the coronavirus-induced lockdowns. Just like many edtech firms, the company witnessed a robust revenue growth in 2020-21 (FY21). LEAD’s revenue from operations nearly doubled to Rs 57 crore from Rs 29 crore a year earlier. However, the company’s loss widened multifold to Rs 126 crore from Rs Rs 36 crore a year earlier. 

“LEAD’s growth last year, despite COVID disruptions, underlines its consumer first approach and deep focus on learning outcomes. We are excited to double down our investment in LEAD, to support in its mission of transforming the education sector in India and touching lives of millions of students,” said Sandeep Singhal, Managing Director, WestBridge Capital.   

LEAD, which offers core schooling courses with its tech-integrated solutions, becomes the sixth edtech unicorn of India, joining the likes of edtech firms Byju’s, owned and operated by Think and Learn Pvt Ltd, Unacademy, owned and operated by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt Ltd, Vedantu Innovations Pvt Ltd, Eruditus Education Pvt Ltd, and upGrad Education Pvt Ltd. The company also becomes the first edtech unicorn of 2022. The company said its valuation has doubled in the last 9 months on the back of strong growth in its operating and financial metrics. The current round is its fifth round of institutional funding since 2017. 

“A child spends 6 hours in school and only 1 hour in tuitions. Transforming schools, when done right, has massive potential to alter our country’s future. LEAD, with its integrated school system has broken new ground in this direction. Our intense focus has been on learning outcomes and life success of our students. And this has resulted in not only strong adoption and retention by schools but also interest from investors who value returns with real impact,” said Mehta and Deorah in a joined statement. 

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