New Jersey- and Bangalore-based VideoKen Inc, which runs an eponymous video-learning platform, has raised $1 million (Rs 6.4 crore) from a clutch of angel investors including current and former Flipkart executives.
Flipkart's chief technology officer Ravi Garikipati, former product head Surojit Chatterjee and former engineering head Ashish Agrawal invested in the company. LG Chandrasekhar, chairman of Sutures India, and Sashi Reddi, partner at US-based SRI Capital LLC, also took part in the round. Besides, some unnamed high-net-worth individuals based in the US and Hong Kong also put in money.
Confirming the development, Manish Gupta, CEO and co-founder of VideoKen, said the funding will be used to ramp up the artificial intelligence capabilities of the platform, and enhance sales and marketing efforts.
Yen4Ken Software Pvt. Ltd, which runs the Indian operations of VideoKen, was founded in January this year by Gupta, a former vice-president at Xerox, and Flipkart’s former vice president of engineering (ad platform and big data) Ashish Vikram (CTO). Eventually, Yen4Ken Software will undergo a brand makeover and bear the VideoKen brand, the company said.
VideoKen is a video-based social learning platform that helps educators and learners search, curate, personalise and share video clips. It offers educational videos that come with several features, such as finding sections that are of interest, clipping interesting parts of a video, inserting notes and sharing them with friends, among others. Users can then store their videos on a cloud platform offered by the company. Currently, it does not impose any limits on data storage.
VideoKen aggregates all publicly-available educational videos on YouTube (including MIT Open Courseware, NPTEL, TED, Udacity, Khan Academy, and many others) as well as videos that are owned privately. Currently, more than a lakh videos are available on the platform.
“Our target audience includes enterprises that recognize the value of lifelong learning for their employees, training organizations, independent trainers and educational institutions,” said Gupta.
The company prepares a customised proposal based on the the user's requirements and charges a yearly licence fee per individual user. The offerings are customised for three user categories: institutional, corporate and teachers.
“We charge a low subscription fee per learner, roughly equivalent to the price of a single lunch, to support learning for an entire year,” said Gupta, refusing to divulge details on subscription figures.
The company, which is currently focusing on educational institutions and corporates, claims it is about to sign agreements with 5-6 potential customers.
Though VideoKen serves only the Indian market at present, it has launched a pilot in the US, and is planning to expand to the US and Europe later this year. Going ahead, it plans to ramp up capabilities for social learning, gamification and personalisation.
“While we are focused primarily on growth, we expect to become profitable in 2-3 years,” said Gupta, adding that the funding raised should see it through for at least a year.
A bunch of startups in the broader ed-tech space have raised funding recently. Last month, NeoStencil India Pvt. Ltd raised $1 million (Rs 6.67 crore) from Times Group’s ad-for-equity investment arm Brand Capital and California-based Paragon Trust.
In the same month, Schoolguru Eduserve Pvt. Ltd, which provides e-learning services to universities, raised a bridge round from some of its existing investors.
In January, online learning platform Unacademy, run by Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, raised $4.5 million (Rs 30 crore) in Series A funding led by Nexus Venture Partners and existing investor Blume Ventures.
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