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Eruditus raises $40 million from Sequoia, Bertelsmann India

M. Sriram
Eruditus plans to use the funding to expand its operations to China and increase its footprint in Latin America, besides introducing more courses in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, says co-founder Ashwin Damera

Mumbai: Eruditus Group, comprising Eruditus Executive Education and its online division Emeritus, has raised a $40-million Series C round led by Sequoia Capital. Existing investor Bertelsmann India Investments also participated in the round, the company said on Thursday.

Mint had first reported on 30 November that Eruditus was in advanced talks to raise $40 million led by Sequoia. Avendus Capital was the adviser on the funding.

Founded in 2010 by Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Ashwin Damera, Eruditus has tied up with recognized foreign universities, including Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Business School. It offers management programmes and short courses, besides online curriculum. In the current fiscal year, the group will enrol 30,000 students from across more than 80 countries, the company said in statement.

Eruditus plans to use the capital to expand its operations to China and increase its footprint in Latin America, besides introduce more courses in artificial intelligence and machine learning, said co-founder Damera in a phone interview.

“There is a clear demand-supply gap in talent for artificial intelligence. We want to provide courses to address this gap by tapping into US and European universities,” he said.

Nearly half of Eruditus' customers are from the US and India, accounting for 30% and 15%, respectively. The rest come from Europe, Latin America and South East Asia, Damera added.

In July, the startup had raised $2.3 million venture debt from Temasek-owned Innoven Capital, which gave it the runway to postpone equity funding for nearly a year. “In the last year, we have grown three times, and the debt raised helped us delay the fundraise,” Damera said. It expects to touch $100 million in bookings by July.

India's edutech startups have been attracting investor attention led by Byju's, which raised $540 million in December from South African internet giant Naspers at a valuation of $3.6 billion. Toppr Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs an app providing education content for students from classes 5 to 12, raised $30 million last month. In November, Vedantu, an online tutoring platform had raised a $11-million round led by Omidyar.

“Upskilling and re-skilling represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the global education market. Driven both by individual learners investing in their own professional development and by corporations investing in the development of their employees, the massive challenge of re-skilling in response to technology evolution is throwing open a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for education entrepreneurs,” said G.V. Ravishankar, managing director, Sequoia Capital India Advisors.