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Unitus Ventures, Whiteboard invest in ed-tech startup Habitat
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Habitat, an ed-tech platform for civil servant aspirants, said Tuesday it has raised Rs 5 crore ($676,700) in its seed round of funding.

The startup raised the funds from impact investment firm Unitus Ventures and Whiteboard Capital, a sector-agnostic venture capital firm started by FreeCharge co-founder Sandeep Tandon, Habitat said in a statement.

Habitat CEO Rohit Pande said the startup will use the funds to strengthen its team and upgrade its technology.

Habitat, which is operated by Apeirogon Technologies Pvt Ltd, was founded in 2016 by Pande and Shikhar Sachan. The startup aims to address the gap in enabling social learning for people preparing for administrative examinations using machine learning and natural language processing.

The startup says it currently serves information-heavy exam segments conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), State Provincial Civil Services (PCS) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It aims to enter the concept-heavy competitive exam segment such as Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and pre-medical test (PMT).

The startup offers these courses in Hindi and English and aims to add other languages as well. It said it has more than 10,000 subscribers. About 60% of the registered users of Habitat are from Tier-II and Tier-III cities, it added.

Will Poole, managing partner at Unitus, said ed-tech is a burgeoning sector, with mobile-first learning leading the growth.

Ed-tech startups have attracted a lot of investor attention over the last few years, and more so during the coronavirus pandemic that has forced schools, colleges and universities to shut down.

One of the notable investments was in Unacademy when it received $150 million in funding led by SoftBank in September, catapulting the ed-tech company to the famed unicorn club of startups with a valuation of over $1 billion. Within weeks of this round, Unacademy added two more marquee names to its investor list – Tiger Global Management and Dragoneer Investment Group – that valued the startup at $2 billion.

Byju's, India's first ed-tech unicorn, also raised fresh capital this year. It also bought venture capital-backed WhiteHat Jr, which focuses on coding education, for $300 million in August.

Unitus Ventures

This is the impact firm's second investment in the education space this year. Earlier this year, VCCircle reported that Unitus was investing in Masai School as part of the startup’s Series A round of funding.

The investment firm, formerly known as Unitus Seed Fund, marked the first close of its second fund at Rs 100 crore in April 2018.

In August this year, Unitus secured $10 million for its second fund from the Small Industries Development Bank of India’s Fund of Funds for Startups initiative. The second fund aims to eventually raise as much as Rs 300 crore.

VCCircle reported in July that Unitus struck a new bet by investing in Gigforce Pvt. Ltd, a staffing company co-founded by former executives of TeamLease Services Ltd. In February, the investor backed blue-collar loan platform SuperMoney.

The second fund’s other investments include Predible, a cloud-based solution for radiology driven by artificial intelligence; Cyclops Medtech, a medical technology company; New Street Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which builds and operates blockchain-enabled platforms for institutional clients in the financial services segment.

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