Indian language learning startup Multibhashi raises capital from Japan’s RareJob

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RareJob of Japan, which conducts online English tutorials, has made its first Indian investment in language learning platform Multibhashi, top executives at the two companies said. The value of investment was not disclosed.

“The proceeds would mainly be used in expanding the team, improving the technology, enhancing the product with new features and in acquiring new users,” said Anuradha Agarwal, who founded Multibhashi in 2016.

“The company aims to become a go-to player for anyone trying to learn English. It also plans to expand to other languages of India and its neighbouring countries.”

“We look forward to learning from the Japanese player’s experience of having scaled the product and the team in a competitive market. A few other investors are also going to participate in this round,” she added.

Multibhashi uses a mobile application to teach 11 Indian languages, including English, Hindi and nine regional languages. While its users can sign up for free for some limited content, they can later upgrade to blended learning models, which involve self-learning plus virtual tutor-led learning. The premium courses can range from anywhere between 200- 5,000. The firm also uses chatbots and community learning features for an immersive experience.

Founded in October 2007, RareJob is one of the leading online English as a Second Language (ESL) schools in Japan and the Philippines that connects students to home-based tutors via video chat for English lessons. “We have one of the largest English tutor networks across our home markets. As we expand globally in the future, we believe this investment presents an opportunity to build a strong exclusive partnership in India, and that has led to this minority investment,” said Gaku Nakamura, president and representative director of RareJob.

In August 2017, Multibhashi raised seed funding from angel investor Aniruddha Malpani and Startup Oasis—a joint initiative of Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation, and Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, IIM Ahmedabad.

While its app could be used from anywhere in the country, more than 60% of its user base comes from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Chennai, Pune, Kochi, Indore and Jaipur.

Multibhashi has more than 1.5 million registered users on its platform and has grown over 15 times since its last fund raise in terms of the total registered user base.

“We plan to grow our user base by five times over the next two years to reach 60 lakh registered users in the country,” said Agarwal.

This article was first published on livemint.com

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.