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Learning app Practically raises $4 million in a funding round led by Siana Capital



Practically logo

Learning app Practically, a product of 3rdFlix Visual Effects, has raised $4 million (₹29 crore) in pre- Series B round led by Siana Capital.

Existing investors YourNest Venture Capital and Exfinity Ventures also participated in the funding round.

Practically is a Hyderabad-based platform which provides interactive and immersive learning experience through videos, interactive AR, VR and 3D simulations.

It was founded by Subbarao Siddabattula, Charu Noheria and Ilangovel Thulasimani in 2018. By being innovative through features for experiential hands-on learning, live classes and AI assistance, Practically has stood apart among other e-learning platforms.

It focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning for class 6 to 12 students. Till now, more than 3,00,000 students have used the platform for science, math and coding lessons.

After the COVID-19 outbreak, their B2B2C initiative – Practically School Solutions has offered schools, the Practically Teacher app free of cost. Through that app teachers can access 3,000+ videos, 1,000+ simulations/AR content, virtual classes, assessments and analytics.

As a result, over 130 schools across India are using the Practically app to conduct online classes.

Practical expansion

Speaking after the funding round, Subbarao Siddabattula, founder and CEO of Practically said,” The tremendous response that we are seeing for Practically from schools, administration, faculty, parents and students validates our model. Our progress so far is in-line with our strategic growth plans and we are very well placed to tap the accelerated growth that the edtech industry is witnessing today.”

The startup will use the fresh capital to establish a pan-Indian presence in the next 12 months. It is also planning to launch operations in Middle East and the US in the near future.

Also read: WhiteHat Jr to hire 100,000 women teachers and expand to Brazil and Mexico

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Edtech Startups

Edtech unicorn Byju’s could acquire Aakash Educational Services for $1 billion



Byju's founder Byju Raveendran

Edtech unicorn Byju’s is set to acquire coaching institute Aakash Educational Services Ltd. for $1 billion (₹7,340 crore).

Aakash Institute is one of the largest chain of coaching centers that train students for medical and engineering entrance exams.

The deal would be one of the largest edtech acquisitions in the world, and it could be closed in the next two or three months, according to a report by Bloomberg Quiint.

Leaders come together

India’s largest edtech startup Byju’s has been on a roll in the past year, as e-learning gained huge traction following the pandemic.

In August, Byju’s acquired WhiteHat Jr, an online coding and math platform for $300 million (₹2,202 crore). It also raised hundreds of millions in investment from BlackRock, Silver Lake and T. Rowe Price, to be valued at $12 billion (₹88,082 crore).

Founded by Byju Raveendran in 2011, Byju’s is heavily backed by Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Tiger Global Management and Bond Capital.

Aakash Institutes run 200 brick and mortar coaching centers and trains close to 2,50,000 student, according to its website. But the pandemic forced all of them to remain closed since March 2020.

Integrating the future of learning

After the deal with Byju’s, Aakash’s founders, the Chaudhary family will completely exit while its backer Blackstone will swap 37.5% equity in Aakash for a stake in Byju’s.

Both companies are yet to respond to queries regarding the deal.

It will be interesting to see how this acquisition will pan out, and how Aakash’s reputation and national presence help Byju’s expansion into newer territories.

Currently, 70 million (7 crore) students are using Byju’s from 1,700 cities across the country.

Also read: Byju’s announces new appointments in chief roles

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Edtech Startups

WhiteHat Jr’s lawsuit against Pradeep Poonia will continue on February 1



Byjus's and WhiteHat Jr logis

The Delhi High Court had a hearing for WhiteHat Jr’s defamation case against Pradeep Poonia on 6th January 2021

The hearing saw many compelling arguments from Poonia’s side, and the court has ordered WhiteHat Jr to submit all the documents on record before the next hearing, scheduled for February 1.

WhiteHat Jr, which is now a subsidiary of edtech unicorn Byju’s, has been facing strong criticism for its misleading advertisement targeting children and their parents. Pradeep Poonia, a Cisco engineer was at the forefront of the social media campaign against WhiteHat Jr’s malpractices.

To counter this, the Mumbai based startup filed a ₹20 crore ($2.7 million) lawsuit against Poonia for defamation, hacking its servers and unauthorized distribution of its Intellectual Property (IP). This was the second hearing on that issue.

Request for Documents

Swathi Sukumar, advocate for Poonia demanded WhiteHat Jr to provide documents regarding the Ad with students ‘Wolf Gupta’ and ‘Ryan Venkat’. When this was opposed by the lawyer representing WhiteHat Jr, Sukumar requested the documents from third parties – the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) and National Consumer Helpline, where complaints against those ads were filed.

The hearing could not be completed because of a server error, said Poonia on his Twitter account. “They opposed my requests for these documents and don’t want these documents to be produced before the Hon’ble High Court. They must be scared of what might come out in the open if these documents are given to the court”, he said.

One misleading the other

WhiteHat Jr’s CEO Karan Bajaj had earlier stated that Poonia has defamed the company with baseless allegations of mistreatment of women employees, misleading advertisement strategies and using the pseudonym ‘WhiteHat Snr’.

Poonia is supported by most of the people on social media, who also found the company’s ads toxic and manipulative. Now, only the High Court’s final judgment, after the hearings will end this tussle.

Alao read: WhiteHat Jr to hire 100,000 women teachers from India and expand to Brazil and Mexico

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Edtech Startups

Edtech startup Kyt raises $5 million in Series A round led by Alpha Wave Incubation



An image of a kid from Kyt website

Edtech platform Kyt has raised $5 million (₹36 crore) in Series A funding led by Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI).

Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, January Capital, Titan Capital and other angel investors also participated in the round.

Kyt is a learning platform that offers courses for extra-curricular activities such as dance, music, chess, musical instruments, yoga, public speaking and creative writing. It is aimed at children in the age group of 5 to 15.

The Bengaluru-based startup was founded by a husband-wife duo Bhavik Rathod and Tripti Ahuja in June 2020. Rathod was the head of UberEats in India and South Asia and Tripti has been a designer of customer experience in major companies for the last 10 years.

Kyt is backed by a slew of angel investors including Allen Pen, Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal, Amrish Rau, Kunal Shah, Jitendra Gupta, Martin Li, Apremeya Radhakrishna, Anand Chandrasekaran and Akhil Paul.

The platform was received very well in a short amount of time. Thousands of students have taken part through its courses or workshops, and this number has been doubling each month.

At present, it has more than 20 teachers which will be increased to 500 by the end of this year. It will also add courses and workshops for speech, debate, spelling bee, guitar and keyboard lessons.

With the funds raised from AWI, Kyt will go forward with its expansion into Abu Dhabi, where it will establish a regional center to oversee its operations in GCC, Middle East and African markets.

Also read: Math learning platform Cuemath raises another $40 million

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