Indian edtech startup Eruditus raises $40m from Sequoia, Bertelsmann

Photo: Reuters

Online education startup Eruditus has raised $40 million in a Series C round of funding led bySequoia India and joined by existing investor Bertelsmann India Investments, per an announcement.

The funding talks between Eruditus and Sequoia were first reported by Mint in November last year.

Founded in 2010 by INSEAD graduate Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Harvard Business School alum Ashwin Damera, Eruditus comprises Eruditus Executive Education and its online division Emeritus. The group partners with American and European universities to provide executive education and short private online courses to working professionals.

The startup plans to use the latest funding to increase its course offerings in subject areas such as data science, machine learning, blockchain and cybersecurity, and to expand its language offerings to include Portuguese and Mandarin, it said in a statement.

“Seventy percent of our students are based outside of the United States, and this fundraise will help accelerate our mission of making high-quality professional education more accessible and affordable,” said Emeritus co-founder and director Damera.

Eruditus claims to have achieved a 10x student growth over the last two years. In the current fiscal year, it seeks to enrol 30,000 students from more than 80 countries in courses delivered in collaboration with university partners such as MIT, Columbia, Harvard Business School, INSEAD, Wharton, and London Business School.

The company also expects to increase its enrollment by more than 10 times across certificate courses and online degrees in the next five years, its statement added.

“Upskilling and reskilling represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the global education market. Driven both by individual learners investing in their own professional development and by corporations investing in the development of their employees, the massive challenge of reskilling in response to technology evolution is throwing open a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for education entrepreneurs,” said Sequoia Capital India managing director GV Ravishankar.

Avendus Capital acted as the financial advisor for the latest transaction.

Eruditus raised $2.3 million in debt financing from Singapore’s Temasek-owned InnoVen Capital in July 2018, according to CrunchBase data. In April 2017, the company had raised $8 million in Series B funding from Bertelsmann India Investments. INSEAD professor Neil Bearden had also invested in the startup in 2016.

Sequoia had invested in a $21-million Series C funding round for education startup Unacademy in July 2018. The storied venture capital firm is also an investor in Byju’s, which recently raised $540 million as part of a mammoth funding round led by South African tech conglomerate Naspers.

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