Naspers leads funding round for learning platform Brainly’s India expansion
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Learning platform Brainly, Inc. has raised $30 million (about Rs 207 crore at current exchange rate) in a funding round led by South African tech conglomerate and investor Naspers. 

In a statement, Poland-based Brainly said other participants in the round include Palo Alto, California-based global technology-focused venture capital firm Runa Capital, and Manta Ray, which is also headquartered in Poland.

The funding takes the total capital Brainly has raised to $68.5 million, it said. The latest investment will be used to expand its user base in India. Company co-founder and chief executive Michal Borkowski said it will achieve this objective through moves such as expanding into languages including Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali and Telugu.

It will also use the funding to improve its user experience and invest further in the quality of help provided to students on its platform.

“Our goal is to extend that access to academic help to every student in the world, including India,” Borkowski said. Brainly also operates in markets such as Poland, the United States, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil.

Naspers Ventures chief executive Larry Illg said the firm was impressed with Brainly’s growth, especially in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Turkey. “Brainly has the potential to serve the needs of hundreds of millions of students around the world,” Illg said.

Brainly was established in 2009, and claims to have more than 150 million monthly unique users. Its platform operates on the crowd-learning model, which it says combines online education, social media and machine learning.

Some of its other investors include Point Nine Capital, General Catalyst, Learn Capital and Kulczyk Investments.

The investment in Brainly is the latest bet by Naspers, which has invested in startups such as Byju’s, Codecademy, ibibo, OLX and PayU.

Deals in the edtech space

The education-technology space has seen a lot of investor activity in the recent past, with startups and investors seeking to provide new-age technologies to consumers as well as address gaps in India’s education system.

One of the biggest recipients of investor interest has been Byju’s, which in December last year raised $540 million (around Rs 3,855 crore) in a round led by Naspers. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) accounted for a significant portion of the massive funding round.

The round valued the firm at $3.8 billion post-money, making the 10-year-old company one of the most-valued ed-tech companies in the world.

In July, Byju’s, owned and operated by Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd, said it has raised $150 million (Rs 1,035 crore at current exchange rate) in a fresh round of equity fundraising led by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority. The latest transaction is likely to value Byju’s, which is already backed by global investors General Atlantic and Tencent Holdings, at over $5 billion.

Last month, competitive examination preparation platform Unacademy raised $50 million (Rs 346 crore) in a Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures and others.

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