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Chiratae leads $7 mn Series A in AR-enabled toymaker PlayShifu

Chiratae leads $7 mn Series A in AR-enabled toymaker PlayShifu
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India and US-based PlayShifu, which creates augmented reality-enabled interactive educational games for children, has raised $7 million (around Rs 48.2 crore at the current exchange rate) in its Series A round of funding, led by Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India). 

Inventus Capital, IIM-Ahmedabad’s Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF) and existing investor IDFC-Parampara Fund also participated in the round. 

The investment will be used for technological innovations and product development, particularly on phygital (physical and digital) modes of interaction, the company said in a statement.  

It plans to update its current product portfolio and expand its retail presence to over 30 countries by 2020, the statement added.

PlayShifu's flagship product, Shifu Orboot, is an AR-based globe that helps children discover about people and places in different regions of the world. The product is being used by over 2.5 lakh children worldwide, the statement said. 

Another offering, Plugo, is an AR-powered gaming system, which helps kids learn skills related to science and math. 

The startup, founded in 2016, wants to create new experiences for children to encourage elementary learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

“We now have the tools at our disposal to execute against an even more impactful retail strategy and presence, while we continue to strengthen our position as the segment leader and disruptor in the early learning space,” Dinesh Advani, co-founder and chief operating officer, PlayShifu, said. 

Founded by Vivek Goyal and Advani, PlayShifu has offices in San Francisco and Bangalore.

The ed-tech startup has cumulatively raised $8.5 million ( around Rs 586 crore at the current exchange rate). In its seed round, which concluded in November 2017, the AR-driven toymaker raised nearly $1 million from IDG Ventures (now christened Chiratae) and the IDFC-Parampara Fund. 

Other deals in the segment

Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd., which runs ed-tech unicorn Byju’s, raised $150 million in a funding round from investors based in the US and the Middle-East, earlier this month. 

Hong Kong-based hedge fund Steadview Capital participated in the Series D round of Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt Ltd-run Unacademy. The funding round saw the ed-tech platform raise $50 million last month. 

The Indian Angel Network helped Thiruvananthapuram-based ed-tech startup ConceptOwl, operated by RankSurge Learning, raise Rs. 3.5 crore (around $500,000) in June. 

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