Test preparation start-up Gradeup, which focuses on government services examinations, has raised $7 million from Times Internet, an arm of publisher Bennett Coleman and Co. This takes the total funding raised by the seven-year-old firm to $10 million.
New Delhi-based Gradestick Learning Pvt Ltd, which runs Gradeup, was set up in December 2012 by Shobhit Bhatnagar, Sanjeev Kumar and Vibhu Bhushan. The company was incubated at TLabs, the start-up incubator of Times Internet. Times Internet is also an investor in Byju’s.
“Gradeup has been able to build the largest online student communities in India, and we are excited to be partners in their mission to improve education in India,” said Gautam Sinha, chief executive, Times Internet.
According to estimates, the Indian online education market is currently worth $247 million and is estimated to grow more than eight times over the next five years to over $1.96 billion. “This growth is expected to be backed by a phenomenal rise in paid users across top edtech platforms, which is projected to grow from the current base of around 1.57 million to 9.5 million users in 2021 at a CAGR of 44 per cent,” said Sinha in a statement.
Gradeup has maintained focus on government services exams at the outset and caters to a section of students who otherwise do not have access to expensive coaching solutions. It currently offers courses for banking, SSC, teaching, UPSE, state and central administrative services, besides exams for admission to IITs and Indian medical colleges.
The start-up claims to support a community of 15 million registered users. It expects that 60,000 students will enrol for its live classes, a recently-launched paid offering. A unique feature is the Gradeup app's Facebook-like newsfeed, where students and teachers actively post questions, get answers and engage with the community for the said exam.
“We are the only Indian online exam preparation platform that enables live online coaching complemented with community-based learning, with ‘student success’ at the centre of our operational strategy,” said Bhatnagar, CEO, Gradeup. “We are investing fresh funds to further build our live online coaching platform, scale our academic team to 100 faculties and 200 subject matter experts and to expand further in tier-2, 3 and 4 towns”.
Some of its offering overlap with Unacademy, a Bengaluru-based e-learning start-up backed by Sequoia Capital and Nexus Venture Partners.