MSDF, others invest in ed-tech startup IMAX Program

Bangalore-based ed-tech startup IMAX Program has raised $13.5 million (around Rs 86 crore) from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), LGT Impact Ventures, and existing investor Aspada Investments, a company statement said.

The startup will use the funds to further innovate its product, enhance its in-school service experience and expand its customer base through multiple distribution channels. It also plans to work with international K12 publishers, the statement added.

IMAX Program, run by BGM Policy Innovations Pvt Ltd, partners with K12 schools and provides them with curriculum services such as designing textbooks for students, creating lesson plans for teachers, crafting question papers for exams, offering students individualised worksheets and digital learning content. It claims to serve more than 800 schools and 300,000 students across India.

“We have a high-energy team of 300 members led by the founders and our CBO (chief business officer) Janardan Singh and our CTO (chief technology officer) Yogi Kulkarni, with a combined total experience of over 60 years. With this round, we will now further deliver a better experience for our customers and partners, and accelerate the expansion of our commercial operations in India. We will also be selectively looking at prospective markets abroad,” Varun Kumar, co-founder of IMAX Program said in the statement.

In 2015, Aspada Investments had invested $1.8 million to help IMAX implement affordable technology to classrooms to enhance a school’s ability to measure and impact learning outcomes effectively.

“Education in India is waiting for its data revolution. We need models that leverage technology for applying data and analytics to improve learning outcomes for every student. However, there are genuine challenges in implementing such models due to variety in curriculum, pedagogy and assessments across multiple states in the country,” Prachi Windlass, director of India programmes at MSDF, said in the statement.

The global philanthropic foundation invests in education and financial services firms. It made its first India bet in 2006 in microfinance firm Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd. In October 2017, it marked the first close of its new education-focused fund, christened the Education Catalyst Fund, in India.

Its others bets last year include Bangalore-based school finance company Varthana, where it put in $3 million (Rs 20 crore) into the firm.

In August last year, it invested $2.5 million (around Rs 16 crore) in spoken English tutoring startup Kings Learning along with unnamed US-based tech investors and Rs 4 crore ($625,000) in a follow-on round into social impact venture Naandi Education Support and Training Pvt. Ltd (NEST).

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