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Venture debt firm Alteria Capital backs ed-tech startup Toppr

Venture debt firm Alteria Capital Advisors LLP has invested Rs 15.5 crore ($2.3 million) in Mumbai-based ed-tech startup Toppr Technologies Pvt Ltd.

This is Alteria's third investment from its debut venture debt fund, it said in a statement. It had previously invested in ready-to-cook food startup Fingerlix and Sachin Tendulkar-backed celebrity fashion firm Universal Sportsbiz.

“Toppr has built a great product and shown strong consistent growth over the last two-three years,” said Vinod Murali, co-founder and managing partner of Alteria Capital. “The team is highly motivated and is well placed to establish a leadership position in the ed-tech space in India in the medium term.”

Zishaan Hayath, co-founder and chief executive officer of Toppr, said venture debt has been a useful tool for the startup to grow business without additional stake dilution. The startup had, in October 2015, raised $2 million in debt funding from InnoVen Capital.

Toppr was founded in 2013 by Hayath, who previously worked with Opera Solutions and ITC Ltd, and Hemanth Goteti, who was previously head of engineering at Futurebazaar.com and also worked with Qlip Media, Synechron and Ubiquity Inc.

The startup provides a test preparation platform for engineering and medical seat aspirants. It also caters to the learning needs of students between 5th and 12th grades. Toppr competes with ed-tech companies like Byju’s, Unacademy, Cuemath and others.

In October 2017, VCCircle reported that Toppr raised Rs 45 crore in additional capital as part of its Series B round of funding from existing institutional investors.

In April 2017, the startup raised a bridge round of funding led by Mauritius-based WGG International Ltd.

In April 2016, Toppr had raised Rs 63.5 crore in Series B funding from Fidelity Growth Partners India, SAIF Partners and Helion Venture Partners.

In May 2014, the firm had raised Rs 12 crore in seed funding from SAIF Partners and Helion Venture Partners. Previously, it had also raised angel funding.

Alteria Capital

The venture debt firm was founded by Ajay Hattangdi and Vinod Murali, former top executives at venture debt provider InnoVen Capital India.

The firm received regulatory clearance for its debut fund last October. Registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India as a category-II Alternative Investment Fund, it has a target corpus of Rs 1,000 crore ($154 million), including a greenshoe option of Rs 200 crore.

In February, the fund hit its first close at Rs 356 crore with commitments from a large family office foundation, other family offices and institutional investors including private-sector lender IndusInd Bank.

Last month, it raised Rs 100 crore from Small Industries Development Bank of India.

The venture debt firm made its first investment in March when it backed Fingerlix. It then invested Rs 30 crore in Universal Sportsbiz.

The firm targets early- and growth-stage startups with cheques of up to Rs 100 crore each.

Venture debt as a segment is growing in India. Other major players offering debt funding to early-stage companies in India include Delhi’s Trifecta Capital Advisors, Bengaluru-based Capital Float, IFMR Capital of Chennai and Ahmedabad-based Lendingkart.

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