Nexus-backed video platform Bolo pivots to ed-tech venture Newton, gets fresh funds
Newton School founders Nishant Chandra (left) and Siddharth Maheshwari

Incanus Technologies Pvt. Ltd has raised fresh capital from existing investors including venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners after pivoting from video content platform Bolo to ed-tech business Newton School.

The company has raised $650,000 (about Rs 4.76 crore) in a seed funding round led by Nexus, it said in a statement. Unacademy founders Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh participated in the round.

AngelList, Upwork founder Srinivas Anumolu, GrowthStory founder K Ganesh as well as angel investors Ajay Gupta and Sahil Aggarwal also invested in Newton School, which offers software development training.

Incanus was set up by Nishant Chandra and Siddharth Maheshwari in 2019. In April last year, VCCircle reported that the company had raised Rs 3 crore from Nexus, Unacademy’s Munjal and Singh, and K Ganesh for Bolo, a mobile app that offered native-language social and content platform.

Responding to VCCircle’s queries, the company said that it had pivoted from Bolo to Newton School and that the latest capital infusion takes the total funding it has raised to nearly Rs 8 crore.

“While building it [Bolo], we realised that there is a huge demand for engineering roles and enthusiasm of students was also high. While talking to these students we figured out that while the students were highly motivated, the education system had failed to make them employable,” the company said in its response.

Incanus didn’t specify when exactly did it pivot its business or when did it raise fresh capital. However, this could have happened as early as January this year. That month, Nexus managing director Sameer Brij Verma had dismissed a VCCircle query on whether the VC firm had invested in Newton School as “factually incorrect” information.

Newton School trains users in software development skills and helps them get placed in companies. It operates on an income-share basis that takes effect once students from its programmes get a job with a salary package of at least Rs 6 lakh a year.

Newton School will use the capital raised to strengthen its product and increase its capacity to handle thousands of learners, as well as expand its team. The company says it aims to have at least 10,000 students placed by 2021.

“While software engineering is one of the highest-paying and fastest-growing career paths, access to quality software development training remains limited to students of a few top colleges,” Maheshwari said.

The investment in the company is also indicative of the continued focus on ed-tech startups, with early-stages deals in the space taking place at a rapid clip even as larger startups such as Unacademy and Byju’s are making acquisitions to boost their product portfolio and market share.

Last week, the skills-focussed startup SOAL (School of Accelerated Learning) raised an undisclosed sum in funding from SARA Investments, the investment wing of the promoters of Munjal Auto Industries Ltd.

Also last week, VCCircle reported that Everstone-backed publisher S Chand had taken control of a mobile learning delivery-focussed platform.

In August, the tutor- and tutor-student connectivity-focussed Teachmint raised an undisclosed sum in a round led by Better Capital, with participation from Titan Capital, the venture firm set up by Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal.

Also Read: Ed-tech sector has a huge valuation mismatch: Equanimity’s Sehgal

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