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Test-prep platform Gradeup raises $7 mn from Times Internet

Test-prep platform Gradeup raises $7 mn from Times Internet
Sanjeev Kumar, Vibhu Bhushan and Shobhit Bhatnagar, co-founders of Gradeup

Noida-based exam preparation platform Gradeup has raised $7 million in its Series A funding round from Times Internet (TIL), a subsidiary of media house Bennett Coleman and Co.

The company received the Series A infusion in two tranches, the second of which came in March this year, Vibhu Bhushan – COO and co-founder of the company had told TechCircle last month.

Gradeup will utilise the funds to enhance its tech and product capabilities, diversify offerings to add more categories and scale the academic team, it said in a press statement.

Previously, the company had raised about $3 million from Times Internet.

Gradeup helps exam aspirants prepare for competitive examinations. It caters to two segments – post high school exams (like JEE, NEET, CA, law) and post-graduation exams (government jobs, UPSC, CAT and other entrance exams).

Its flagship offering is Gradeup Classroom, which offers courses to students through live classes, interactive quizzes, mock tests, and mentorship. It hires expert faculty who design the courses by dividing the whole syllabus into topics and chapters and conducts the program in a structured methodology. It enables students to interact with peers and mentors, ask questions, share updates and access free study material.

“We are investing the 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, 4 towns, Shobhit Bhatnagar, co-founder and CEO of Gradeup said in a statement.

Founded in in 2015 by Bhatnagar, Sanjeev Kumar, and Vibhu Bhushan, the company has established an exam-specific community of students and mentors for JEE, NEET, GATE, SSC, banking, railways, teaching, UPSC, defense and state level exams.

Aspirants can freely access prep material, quizzes, previous year question papers, and get answers to their doubts. Live online courses and some specific test series are paid services. It claims to have an average ticket size of Rs. 5000 for live courses and Rs 300 for test series.

The startup claims to help over 15 million students prepare for various exams. It expects the number of enrolments to touch 60,000 students by the end of this financial year.

“The online education market in India currently stands at $247 million and is estimated to grow more than 8X over the next 5 years to over $1.96 billion in 2021. 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%,” Gautam Sinha, CEO, Times Internet, said.

In the live course segment, Gradeup competes with Vedantu and Unacademy. Vedantu follows a vertical approach focussing mostly on classes 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 while Unacademy focuses on providing students with access to experienced teachers than fully designing course structures. Both Vedantu and Unacademy have raises significant venture capital funds recently. Bengaluru-based Vedantu raised $42 million in a Series C round led by existing investor Tiger Global and new investor Westbridge Capital in August while Unacademy raised $50 million in a Series D funding round from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital India, and Nexus Venture Partners in June.

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