Vedantu raises US$ 100 million in Series D funds

Edutech in India continues to attract investors

Vedantu's edutech scholars do well in competitive exams Screenshot from Vedantu's homepage
Vedantu's edutech scholars do well in competitive exams Screenshot from Vedantu's homepage

When IppStar researched the book publishing and printing industries in India and Bangladesh in 2019, it was difficult to grasp that the edutech sector in India alone is forecast to generate revenues of anywhere from US$ 25 to 35 billion (Rs 185,000 to Rs. 280,000 crore). However, with the continuing Covid-19 constraints on students going back to brick and mortar schools anytime soon, the figures seem credible. 

With many, if not all, sectors rapidly adapting to digital, online education seems to have already caught on in urban and semi-urban markets. There are reports of children in the rural market, also accessing classes on smartphones. For a while, Indian teachers have been tutoring students overseas online, and now centers like Kota designed for cramming for competitive exams are also going online. On just one eductech investment website, 42 leading Indian startups are listed in the eductech sector.

In this upbeat context, Bengaluru-based online live tutoring company Vedantu has raised US$ 100 million in a fresh funding round from a group of investors led by New York-based Coatue. Existing investors in Vedantu, such as GGV Capital, Omidyar Network, and Tiger Global, have also taken part in this round of Series D funding. According to the company’s press release, the new round values the company at US$ 600 million. The leader in the Indian edutech sector is Byju’s, valued at over US$ 8 billion.

This is Vedantu’s third funding round in the past 12 months. The company raised US$ 12.56 million in an extended Series C round led by Legend Capital in April 2020. US$ 24 million were raised in February 2019, and US$ 42 million in August 2019. According to Vedantu, it has raised more than US$ 200 million, including the latest round of Series D funding.

Coatue’s managing director Rahul Kishore commented on the investment, “Online learning adoption in India is at an all-time high setting a new benchmark for the rest of the world. As we continue to focus on driving high-growth ventures, our investment in Vedantu marks our entry into the Indian edutech market. This move underlines our strategy to partner with companies that are strategically positioned for high growth and scale.”

Vedantu’s co-founder and CEO Vamsi Krishna explained how the company will use the capital infusion, “Vedantu has always believed in the concept of ‘live’ interactive classes being a superior format for online learning which creates greater learning outcomes. During the lockdown, everyone is talking about live classes, and it is the best time for us to drive more adoption and strengthen our brand as the best destination for live classes. On top of adding new categories, we will use the funds to invest in content and technology to create the world’s best live teaching-learning experience.”

The company says it has recorded a growth of 220% during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, with more than two million students taking live classes delivered over 8 million hours of interactive courses. With over one million students participating in the live study each month on its platform, it claims to have more than 25 million users in India and more than 40 countries. It says these users access content and videos, including free content and videos on its platforms and YouTube channels.

Vedantu says it is planning to scale up its live tutoring category and expanding in other age segments. It sees the lockdown as having effected a definitive push or catalyst for consumers to shift online and sees itself as the online tutoring brand.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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