Indian Edtech Startup Springboard Raises US$31M Series B

Springboard will use the fresh funds to enhance student employability and deepen partner ties

Edtech startup Springboard has raised US$31 million in a Series B funding round led by Australia-based Telstra Ventures, the startup announced in a press release yesterday.

A consortium of existing investors including Costanoa Ventures, Pearson Ventures, Reach Capital, International Finance Corporation (IFC), 500 Startups, Blue Fog Capital, and Learn Capital, participated in the round, along with new investors Vulcan Capital and SJF Ventures.

The startup had previously raised $11 million in December last year, and with the latest investments, Springboard’s total capital exceeds $50 million, according to the press release. Springboard is headquartered in San Francisco, with an office in Bengaluru.

With prominent layoffs brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, Springboard aims to utilize the fresh funds to enhance student employability in the current market by developing new hiring-focused products and strengthening employer partnerships.

Over the following months, Springboard plans to expand its course offerings outside high tech industries to include other disciplines with a skill gap, and aims to deepen its partnerships with universities and employers to facilitate the upskilling and reskilling of workers in the post-pandemic economy.

“We’re in the middle of the largest global labor market shift in over a century, as millions of displaced workers look to make the difficult transition into new, in-demand careers,” Co-founder and CEO of Springboard Gautam Tambay said.

“Our remote-first, mentor-guided model is uniquely positioned to serve not only these individuals, but also universities and employers who need help navigating today’s new economic reality,” he added. “We’re delighted to partner with a great group of investors, as we continue on our mission to transform over one million lives by 2030.”

Founded in 2013 by Tambay and Parul Gupta, Springboard offers online one-to-one mentor-guided learning sessions, along with career coaching and job-guaranteed programs, that enable successful career transitions into deep tech fields such as data science, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Its mentors include experienced industry professionals from renowned companies such as PhonePe, Mahindra Rise, Swiggy, Paytm, Uber, and Myntra, among others. The mentors provide feedback on a weekly basis to keep students motivated and accountable, the statement said.

With the fresh capital infusion, Springboard aims to build three innovative tools to further support graduates seeking jobs:

  • The Hireability Forecaster, which will provide early indications of student success and potential employability roadblocks through predictive technology and insights from global industry mentors.
  • Springboard Introductions, which will offer Springboard students personalized and targeted introductions and job referrals from its community of over 13,000 mentors, alumni, fellow students, and employer partners. Referred applicants are five times more likely to be hired than average candidates, while internally referred candidates are 15 times more likely to be hired than those who apply on a job board, according to a 2017 survey by Jobvite.
  • Student-Job Fit Recommender, an AI-driven job matching tool, which will recommend open roles at Springboard’s employer partners that match each student’s unique background and skill set.

According to the press release, the startup has experienced a phenomenal 330% growth in student enrollment between June 2019 and June 2020, and currently serves over 16,000 students from more than 100 countries.

Springboard differentiates itself from its edtech peers by focusing on employability. 94% of its eligible graduates secure a job within a year, earning an average salary increase of $26,000, the startup claims.

“The education sector is facing a tectonic shift. As enterprises and countries alike seek more and better talent with digital skill sets, the technology training market is set to explode,” Principal at Telstra Ventures Albert Bielinko said.

“We invested in Springboard because the strong educational and job placement outcomes achieved by its students are a big differentiator. Springboard’s highly personalised approach is built with the online learner in mind first, not as an afterthought, and offers a life-changing value proposition for Springboard’s graduates,” he added.

The global pandemic has negatively impacted businesses across the globe, but the need for social distancing and movement restrictions imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus has boosted the global edtech industry.

In India alone, edtech startups amassed a whopping $795 million in the first half of 2020, compared to $108 million in the previous year, and is the only sector apart from healthcare to report a growth in the number of deals, according to a report by Live Mint. Of this, Indian edtech unicorn Byju’s alone raised $500 million during the first six months of 2020.

Moreover, the online education market in the sub-continent is set to grow 8x, reaching $1.96 billion by 2021 from $247 million in 2016, with re-skilling and online certifications being the largest segment worth $93 million in 2016, according to a report by KPMG.


Header image courtesy of Springboard

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