Japan’s RareJob backs language tutoring platform Multibhashi

By Joseph Rai

  • 18 Nov 2019
Credit: Team Multibashi

Multibhashi Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which operates an eponymous mobile application for teaching English and Indian languages, said on Monday it has raised funding from Japanese company RareJob Inc.

The company will use the funds to expand its customer base, strengthen its team and improve its product, Multibhashi founder Anuradha Agarwal said in a statement. It didn’t disclose the amount it raised.

The startup, which was founded in 2017, operates a mobile app which enables users to learn about a dozen languages including English, Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, Bengali and Hindi. The company follows a freemium model where users have to pay for certain features of the product.

Multibhashi said it primarily targets 460 million blue-and grey-collar professionals in India who are looking to improve their skills in communicative English to enhance their career prospects.

The startup had raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round of funding in 2017 from angel investor Aniruddha Malpani and Startup Oasis, a joint initiative of Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation and the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, IIM Ahmedabad.

Japan-listed RareJob, which offers online English tutorial services, was started in 2007. It seeks to expand alliances with ed-tech startups outside Japan. In June 2019, it had invested in a Thailand-based online English conversation operator Globish.

RareJob CEO Gaku Nakamura said it had looked at companies in the Indian English education ecosystem but most of them either followed brick-and-mortar models that were neither scalable nor affordable for the end-customer or online players which only enabled self-learning and focused more on gamification and engagement metrics.

“Multibashi stood out with its unwavering focus on learning outcomes and a unique model to deliver real learning outcomes with a combination of self-learning and tutor-led learning,” he added.

Deals in the ed-tech segment

The online learning and education-technology segment has attracted considerable investor interest of late.

The valuation of ed-tech firm Byju’s crossed $5 billion after it raised $31.3 million in a funding round in March led by existing investors General Atlantic and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

In December last year, Byju’s announced that it had secured $540 million (Rs 3,855 crore then) in a round led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers.

In the same month, Toppr raised $35 million (Rs 245.19 crore at current exchange rates) in a Series C funding round from new and existing investors.

In August, ed-tech startup Vedantu Innovations Pvt. Ltd raised $42 million in a Series C funding round led by US-based investment firm Tiger Global and private equity firm WestBridge Capital.

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