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James Murdoch-led Lupa Systems buys majority stake in Harappa Education
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A private investment company led by James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has acquired a majority stake in Indian online learning startup Harappa Education Pvt. Ltd.

This is the first investment by New York-based Lupa Systems in India, Harappa said in a statement. It didn’t disclose financial details of the transaction.

James founded Lupa Systems last year, using proceeds he received from his family’s sale of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s film and television assets to Walt Disney Company. Some of Lupa’s other investments include Tribeca Enterprises, Vice Media and The Void.

The firm has an office in Mumbai, and its India arm is led by former Star Sports chief executive officer Nitin Kukreja.

New Delhi-based Harappa said it will use the funds to accelerate its product development, build out its curriculum-creation processes and scale its presence across corporate houses and campuses across the country.

James said he was confident in his investment in Harappa because of co-founder Pramath Raj Sinha’s record with establishing quality learning institutions and the startup’s “foundational and unique” curriculum.

Harappa, founded by Sinha and Shreyasi Singh in 2018, has a curriculum of at least 25 skills, which it delivers through an online-first approach. Its services address core gaps in education systems such as cognitive, social and behavioural skills. The firm says it aims to become a high-quality learning portal for professionals of all specialisations.

James’s father, Rupert Murdoch, is executive chairman at News Corp, which owns Mosaic Digital, the corporate banner behind VCCircle.

Deals in the ed-tech segment

The larger ed-tech segment in India has been the subject of heavy investor attention in the country in the last few years, with companies such as Byju’s and Unacademy scoring big cheques from marquee names.

However, there have been several early and mid-stage startups that have raised funding in recent months.

Earlier on Wednesday, growth-stage investor Iron Pillar led a Rs 60 crore (around $8.3 million) Series B round in Testbook, which operates a platform focussed on government examination preparations.

In December last year, career upskilling solutions provider Springboard raised $11 million (around Rs 78 crore) in a post-Series A financing round led by the education-focused Reach Capital. Other investors included Pearson Ventures and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

In October, Info Edge (India) Ltd, which owns and operates portals such as job site Naukri.com, said it invested Rs 7.06 crore (a little less than $1 million) in Adda247, a test-preparation platform for government and public-sector exams.

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