HNI leads second pre-Series A round in ed-tech startup Smartivity

Ed-tech startup Smartivity Labs Pvt. Ltd, which designs toys and learning projects for kids, has raised $2 million (Rs 13 crore) in fresh funding led by an individual investor, a company statement said.

Ashish Kacholia, a stock market investor and director of research at Mumbai-based broking firm Lucky Securities, invested $1.7 million and the remaining amount was put in by existing investors S Chand Group, AdvantEdge and Ant Space, the statement added.

The startup will use the funds to strengthen its product, bolster manufacturing, and launch brand awareness initiatives in Indian, American, European and other international markets, Tushar Amin, Smartivity’s co-founder, said in the press note.

“Smartivity has grown over 10X in the past two years. We expect to cross Rs 100 crore revenue in the next three years,” Amin added.

Kacholia attributes his interest in Smartivity to his daughter. “Anisha loved their STEM (science, technology, engineering, (arts), and math) toys, [which] gave me quality bonding time with her every weekend. I can see the improvement in her understanding of scientific concepts and analytical skills and reduction in screen time,” he said.

Smartivity was founded in 2015 by communications graduate Amin and IIT Delhi alumni Apoorv Gupta, Ashwini Kumar, and Rajat Jain. Kumar, Gupta and Jain had earlier founded a startup called Yoohoobox, which offered art and craft projects on a monthly subscription format. The startup creates activity-based STEM learning concepts for the education and toy industry to make learning smarter for children.

The startup last raised funds last month from education-focused publishing house S Chand & Company Ltd , which invested an additional Rs 35 lakhs ($53,891). At that time, S Chand had 23.29% shareholding in the firm.

Prior to that, Smartivity raised $1 million (around Rs 6.7 crore) in pre-Series A funding led by S Chand and early-stage investment firm AdvantEdge Partners in May 2016. The round also saw participation from Singapore-based fund CFG Offshore Holdings, US-based fund Tandem Capital and a clutch of individual investors.

In 2015, S Chand had invested a seed amount of $200,000 in Smartivity.

Founded in 1939 by Shyam Lal Gupta, S Chand Group is now owned and managed by Himanshu Gupta and Dinesh Kumar Jhunjhnuwala and their families. S Chand had raised nearly Rs 179 crore ($27 million) from International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, and existing investor Everstone Capital in November 2015. In 2012, Everstone picked up 35% stake in S Chand & Co for $38 million. In 2014, S Chand Group acquired a majority stake in Delhi-based publisher New Saraswati House (I) Pvt Ltd.

The company made its trading debut on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in May last year.

Other deals in ed-tech

In April, a number of ed-tech startups raised funds.

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) said it will invest $180 million (Rs 1,175 crore) in ed-tech startup Embibe.

Delhi-based yet-to-launch startup Kriger Campus, which is a networking platform for students, teachers, school, colleges and other educational institutions, raised Rs 30 lakh ($46,140) of seed capital from an undisclosed city-based angel investor.

Hyderabad-based ed-tech startup IndigoLearn raised $150,000 in seed funding from a group of angel investors based in India, the US and Europe.

In March, Mumbai-based Callido Learning was set to raise $2 million (Rs 13 crore) from a UK-based publisher.

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