Info Edge (India) Ltd, the largest consumer internet firm in India by market value, has infused Rs 10 crore ($1.6 million) more in Applect Learning Systems, which runs an online education and assessment venture through Meritnation.
The funds will be used for content creation and updation, brand building and increasing awareness both online and on television, as well as for the expansion of the sales team.
With the fresh investment, Info Edge’s total exposure to Applect has risen to Rs 71.5 crore and it holds around 55.81 per cent stake in Applect (on a fully diluted and converted basis), the company said in a BSE filing.
In February this year, Info Edge, which runs sites such as Naukri.com and 99acres.com, had invested Rs 30 crore ($5.5 million) more in Applect. Prior to that, it had invested Rs 20 crore in the company through a mix of equity and convertible preference shares in September 2011. It had also put in around Rs 11.5 crore in Applect between 2008 and 2010. Info Edge held 54 per cent stake in Applect prior to the latest investment.
Started in 2009 by IIM Bangalore alumni Pavan Chauhan and Ritesh Hemrajani, Meritnation.com provides courseware to students from classes I to 12 in maths, science and English for CBSE, ICSE and other leading state boards. Its offerings also include development of courseware, assessment items, teaching pieces, simulations and conventional training materials. It claims to have reached a user-base of 5.6 million and is aiming to cross 7 million by the end of current academic year. The company is looking at creating an offline presence. As a pilot, it had launched a learning centre in Gurgaon a year ago, which elicited good response.
Talking to Techcircle.in, Chauhan, co-founder and MD, Meritnation, stated that this is a follow-on round which the firm raised as it is looking to invest in some particular areas. “In line with our expansion plans to foray into international geographies and to add state boards we will use this capital for improving product and content,” he said. He added that the company is not looking at raising a larger round since ‘it has enough capital in the bank’. Chauhan had earlier shared the firm’s expansion plans in detail and had added that the company will be able to achieve break-even in a few months. He said it has realigned its plans since the last investment round which is why it raised this follow-on round. On using the capital for team expansion he said, “We have a solid top management team but we would be looking at adding more resources at the medium and junior levels.”
Other investments in the online education space
Oct 2013: K2 Learning Resources (India) Pvt Ltd, a hybrid (online + offline) education startup, had raised Rs 8 crore ($1.3 million) in angel funding from Radheshyam Agarwal, founder and director of Calcutta Tube India, in his personal capacity.
Sep 2013: Bangalore-based Simplilearn Solutions Pvt Ltd, the company that owns and operates Simplilearn.com, an online education and training destination for professional certification courses, had secured $10 million in a Series B round of funding from Helion Venture Partners and existing investor Kalaari Capital.
May 2013: Delhi-based Earth Education Valley Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates the online education platform EduKart.com, had raised $500,000 in seed funding from a group of early-stage institutional and angel investors. These include French early-stage fund Kima Ventures, Amit and Arihant Patni (from Patni family), computer services firm AKM Systems, Vibhor Mehra (ex-partner at SAIF Partners) and Stanford University alumni.
May 2013: eDreams Edusoft Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based technology product startup focused on the education industry, had raised $2 million in its second round of funding, led by Inventus Capital Partners. Existing investor Mumbai Angels also participated in the round.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)