Executive education platform Eruditus has raised $ 650 million as part of its latest Series E funding round led by Accel US and SoftBank Vision Fund II, valuing the startup at $ 3.2 billion, the company said Thursday.
The round has seen a primary infusion of $ 430 million into the company and $ 220 million to give out early investors, a person familiar with the discussion said, requesting anonymity.
Leading the secondary round are the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which invested between $ 100 million and $ 110 million, and Prosus Ventures, which invested $ 75 million, the person said.
Eruditus’ first investor, Bertelsmann India Investments, has taken a partial exit, two people said on condition of anonymity. Angel investors have also exited the firm, with the founders diluting a portion of their stake, the people quoted above said on condition of anonymity.
The Eruditus Series E round has yet to close and will see participation from existing and new investors in the next three weeks, said one of the people quoted above.
The recent fundraiser makes Eruditus the fourth edtech firm to enter the league of unicorns. With this funding, the total count of Indian startups reaching a $ 1 billion valuation stands at 23 this year.
Earlier this week, rival UpGrad entered India’s unicorn stable after completing its $ 185 million fundraiser led by Temasek Holdings Ltd at a valuation of $ 1.2 billion.
The other two unicorns in the edtech space include Naspers and Tiger Global funded by Byju’s and SoftBank backed by Unacademy, valued at $ 16.5 billion and $ 3.44 billion, respectively.
Eruditus will use the proceeds from the round to develop new courses in conjunction with university partners, create products for new industry verticals, duplicate new markets and finance acquisitions.
“We are fortunate to have the backing of investors who have a long-term vision and will help us grow 10x in the next three years. We will use the funds to also place inorganic bets on newer areas of learning and to deepen our existing geographies, “said Chaitanya Kalipatnapu, co-founder and CEO of Eruditus, in an interview.
Kalipatnapu said the company is exploring acquisitions for new learning technologies, especially in the business-to-business space. He also wants to delve into the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
The round marks SoftBank’s second major investment in India’s burgeoning edtech landscape.
Founded 11 years ago, Eruditus targets professionals with its skills enhancement platform and offers more than 250 learning programs developed in partnership with more than 50 universities, including Harvard University, the Wharton School, the Indian Institutes of Management. and the Indian Institutes of Technology. More than 250,000 people in 80 countries have used its courses.
“With the rapid rate of technological disruption, continuous skills improvement is necessary for today’s job market. The company’s partnerships with elite universities and the use of technology and data to create and deliver high-quality courses position Eruditus to lead this space, “said Sumer Juneja, a partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.
Currently, Eruditus has a team of 1,550 people in 14 countries, with a presence in the US, Europe, China and Latin America, and creates specialized courses for corporate clients.
“The separation of higher education and continuous learning has only just begun. We believe that the platform and deep partnerships with the world’s best universities put Eruditus and its partner universities at the forefront of this revolution in higher education.” said Anand Daniel, a partner at Accel.
Eruditus’ recent funding follows its $ 200 million acquisition of iD Tech, which marked Eruditus’s expansion into the kindergarten-12 (K-12) space. Additionally, the company offers small private online courses, a category that also saw the recent entry of rival UpGrad through the acquisition of KnowledgeHut.
In recent months, Byju’s has acquired Great Learning for $ 600 million to enter the Skills Enhancement and Retraining segment.
Even Unacademy, after its recent fundraiser, said that the company has aspirations to enter the skill enhancement segment.
According to Eruditus, it is on track to record more than $ 500 million in reserves by June.