Cross Border Angels invests in ed-tech startup eShiksa

Jaipur-based eShiksa, an education management portal, has raised an undisclosed amount from Cross Border Angels & Experts (CBA; previously Cross Border Angels), an international angel network, as part of an extended seed round.

Rajasthan Angel Innovators Network chairman and co-founder Mahavir Pratap Sharma, who invested an undisclosed amount in eShiksa last October, also put in money.

Previously, the ed-tech startup had raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Dewang Neralla, CEO of Atom Technologies, an end-to-end payment services provider.

“eShiksa is expected to benefit from the digital revolution by assisting educational institutes with its technology platform, reducing inefficiencies in the system,” said Mandar Gadkari, who heads CBA’s Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa operations.

The ed-tech firm was also among the eight startups shortlisted by CBA as part of its second annual conference, Startup India Rocks, held in Bangalore recently.

Pravin Sharma, founder and CEO of eShiksa, told VCCircle that the funds will be used for geographical expansion, customer acquisition and operational ramp-up.

Founded by Sharma in 2013, eShiksa provides a comprehensive solution for management of educational affairs of an institute. It offers 36 modules, such as student module, HR module, examination module, fee module and finance module, among others. With the new round of funding, the company plans to introduce new services and modules.

It gets the chunk of its revenues from institutes using its services. Some of its modules are add-on features that can used by the students and parents, for which it charges the institute a nominal yearly fee per individual user. Going forward, it is looking to start collecting fees directly from students and parents. Besides, the company has tied up with six banks that offer its product modules to their customers.

Currently, eShiksa is used by more than 250 institutes including playgroups, schools and colleges, with the latter making up the major chunk of its client base. The company has also launched its services in Nepal and Mauritius, and is looking for strategic partners to launch in three more foreign markets.

“Talks are at an advanced stage with strategic partners to launch our products and services in Australia, Indonesia and Kenya,” said Sharma.

The company is looking to on-board more than 750 institutes and cross a user base of 5 lakh in FY2018. It is looking to raise more as part of its seed round in coming months, subject to achievement of financial targets.

“We don’t need a large round. We will go for a bigger round only after achieving a certain financial milestone. Currently, some of our basic modules, including student and fee modules, are being offered free of cost to support the government’s cashless push. After that, with our order books, we should be able to achieve our profitability target” said Sharma.

Sharma has more than 13 years of experience in mutual funds, stock-broking, payments and the IT Industry. In his last assignment prior to the entrepreneurial venture, he served as national sales head for Mumbai-based Atom Technologies.

A bunch of ed-tech startups have raised funding recently. Earlier this week, Mumbai-based Haygot Education Pvt. Ltd, which runs ed-tech startup Toppr, raised an external round of funding of Rs 2.16 crore (around $336,000) in a bridge round.

Last month, Jaipur-based Nactus India Services Pvt Ltd raised an undisclosed amount from a group of angel investors.

In the same month, Byju’s, which is currently the top-funded Indian ed-tech startup with nearly $170 million till date, raised an undisclosed amount from Belgian family office Verlinvest.

Bangalore-based Cuemath, another significantly funded player in this space, has raised close to $20 million till date. In January this year, it raised $15 million (nearly Rs 102 crore then) in Series B funding from CapitalG (formerly known as Google Capital) and existing investor Sequoia India.

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