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Exclusive: Ed-tech startup Vagupu raises $1 mn seed funding

03 November, 2017

San Jose, California- and Bangalore-based ed-tech startup Vagupu, Inc. has raised $1 million (Rs 6.5 crore) in seed funding from a group of investors in the US, a senior company executive told VCCircle.

The startup, however, didn’t disclose the identity of the investors.

It will use the funds for marketing and expansion of its development team.

Vagupu was founded in August 2015 by Wharton graduates Natraj Thuduppathy and Melo Rajakumar. Thuduppathy had previously founded social learning platform myKlassroom.com while Rajakumar had co-founded IT services firm Quest America in 1995.

Vagupu offers a business-to-business (B2B) solution called myTutoring, and a business-to-consumer (B2C) product under the brand name Vagupu.

myTutoring, whose primary clients are private coaching institutes, integrates the various elements of online tutoring such as discovery, scheduling, payments and collaboration. The software-as-a-service platform offers features such as branding, logo, identity, tutor discovery, ratings, reviews, browser-based audio video collaboration, and whiteboard tools, among others.

Vagupu offers myTutoring at $25 per month. It currently has four enterprise clients.

Under the B2C marketplace model, teachers decide on tutoring fees and the company charges a 15% commission on payments.

Vagupu had raised an undisclosed amount from a group of high-net-worth investors in 2015, when the founders began product development.

Online tutor aggregation has emerged as a significant element in the country’s ed-tech space. Several such marketplaces have succeeded in raising venture capital.

Home tutor provider Qriyo raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Dubai-based investor Neelesh Bhatnagar’s NB Ventures in April this year.

Last year, FlipClass, which runs a technology platform connecting tutors and students, raised $1 million from publishing house S Chand and Co Pvt Ltd and Blume Ventures.

Gurgaon-based Rise India, an education and skill development firm, had acquired a 60% stake in tutor aggregator Padhopadhao.com in June last year.

India’s online education industry is expected to grow almost eight times to hit $1.96 billion by 2021, with the number of paid users rising six-fold to 9.6 million, a recent report by search giant Google and consultancy firm KPMG released said.

Deals in ed-tech space
Early last month, Bangalore-based CollPoll, a communication and collaboration platform for educational institutes, raised around Rs 2 crore ($306,000) led by seed-stage investor Sprout Angels LLP.

In August, Vadodara-based ed-tech venture Cerebroz Edutree LLP raised Rs 4.7 crore (about $734,000) in seed funding from Dubai-based HNIs. In the same month, Leverage EdTech Pvt. Ltd, a startup that helps students apply to colleges, raised seed funding led by Kashyap Deorah, a serial entrepreneur, and Anand Sankeshwar, managing director at transportation firm VRL Logistics.

Bangalore-based PlayAblo, which seeks to engage school students through gamified learning solutions, raised $600,000 from ABI-Showatech (India) Ltd in July.

The same month, Byju’s, India’s best-funded ed-tech startup, raised fresh funding from Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings. Byju’s didn’t disclose the details of the transaction, but a person close to the development had told VCCircle that Tencent put in around $35 million.

In June, Hyderabad-based Edgefx Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which provides do-it-yourself project kits for engineering students, raised an undisclosed amount in a bridge round from international angel network Cross Border Angels & Experts, Rajasthan Angel Innovators Network, and The Chennai Angels.

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Exclusive: Ed-tech startup Vagupu raises $1 mn seed funding

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