Times Internet invests $7 mn in test-prep platform Gradeup
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Exam preparation platform Gradeup, operated by Grade Stack Learning Pvt. Ltd, has raised $7 million (approximately Rs 49.50 crore at current exchange rates) in Series A funding round from Times Internet Ltd (TIL), a subsidiary of media house Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd.

The company will use the funds to enhance its technological infrastructure, product diversification and expand its academic team, the Noida-based firm said in a statement.

The latest investment takes Gradeup’s total funding to about $10 million, it added.

Shobhit Bhatnagar, co-founder and chief executive officer at Gradeup, said the investment was an endorsement of company’s mission to build the country’s most effective education-technology solution.

“We are the only Indian online exam preparation platform that enables Live online coaching complemented with community-based learning, with ‘student success’ at the centre of our operational strategy,” he said.

Gautam Sinha, chief executive officer at TIL, said Gradeup has been able to build the largest online student communities in India, and we are excited to be partners in their mission to improve education in India.

Gradeup says its platform helps over 15 million exam aspirants prepare for competitive tests such as the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET), the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection Probationary Officers Exam (IBPS), and the Union Public Service Commission examination.

In March 2014, Grade Stack raised an undisclosed sum of money from Times Internet. The startup, which was part of Times Internet’s TLabs startup acceleration programme in 2013, had already secured Rs 10 lakh as part of the programme.

Times Internet owns over 40 properties, with its media portfolio spanning news, music, sports and video. It is also present in transactional marketplaces such as real estate, personal finance, education and job.

The BCCL subsidiary says it has over 450 million monthly consumers who spend nearly 130 billion minutes per month across its properties. Some of the companies in TIL’s portfolio include cricket news portal Cricbuzz, restaurant reservation platform Dineout, personal finance platform ET Money.

Deals in ed-tech segment

The online learning and ed-tech segment has attracted considerable investor interest of late.

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

Earlier this month, ENpower, which provides entrepreneurship learning programmes for school children, said it raised Rs 2.65 crore ($377,500) in a seed round of funding led by Nikhil Vora, founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures, a consumer-centric venture fund.

In June, ed-tech platform for competitive exams 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. The startup said it will use the fresh capital to onboard more educators and fuel growth across multiple exam categories.

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