ImpactAlpha, July 20 – The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on India’s healthcare system and economy, but it’s jet fuel for the country’s edtech ventures. Case in point: online tutoring platform Vedantu has clinched $100 million in Series D funding just three months after closing its $79 million Series C round.
“Indian ed-techs are having a breakout moment, led by three stars,” observes Asha Impact’s Kartik Desai, co-author of a new report on impact investing in India (see, “Impact investors catalyze $10 billion for India’s social venture market over 10 years”).
K-12 personalized learning company Byju has raised $500 million through multiple rounds this year. Online education platform Unacademy closed a $110 million Series E round in February.
Vedantu stands out from edtech peers Unacademy and Byju for its impact mission, which aims to make after-school tutoring widely available and affordable through lessons online. Siddharth Nautiyal from Omidyar Network India, which first backed the company in 2018 and re-upped in the latest round, cited the company’s long-standing commitment to “improving student learning outcomes at extremely affordable prices.”
Indeed, education is among the emerging sectors in which impact investors are looking for the kind of acceleration, scale and exits they found in financial services in the past decade, says Desai. Impact-focused edtech has scooped up just under $1 billion of the $10.8 billion in impact venture capital invested in India. Driven by COVID, “Vedantu’s large raise is an example of more such deals to come,” he adds.
Unacademy and Byju have been competitively snapping up smaller edtech ventures. Local language STEM education startup Doubtnut is the latest example. Desai says that the huge Indian market helps keep edtech focused on access and affordability.
“Services for low-income customers become embedded in the business models of startups focused on the mass market,” says Desai. “This helps impact investors avoid mission drift even as their investees reach national scale.”