More Wins for Edtech: Eruditus Rakes In US$113M Series D Funding

Eruditus is expected to double its profits this fiscal year

Global edtech startup Eruditus has completed a Series D round of funding to the tune of US$113 million, the company announced in a statement today.

The funding was led by U.S. growth equity firm Leeds Illuminate and Prosus Ventures, the venture investing arm of global internet company Prosus, the statement noted. Prosus, formerly known as Naspers, is a majority stakeholder in Tencent.

The company’s existing investors Sequoia India and Ved Capital returned to participate in the round, joined by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Avendus Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to deal, the statement noted.

Eruditus is an edtech company offering professional education program via Eruditus Executive Education and online certificates through its online education arm EMERITUS.

The fresh funding will enable Eruditus to globally expand its portfolio of courses, bolster engagement with partner universities, broaden operations in emerging markets, and create courses relevant to “skills required of the global workforce in a post-pandemic world,” the statement said.

“COVID-19 is dramatically accelerating change across higher education. We are engaging more deeply with universities worldwide to help them expand their online portfolio and global footprint,” Eruditus Co-founder and CEO Ashwin Damera said in the statement.

“We chose Leeds Illuminate, Prosus Ventures and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as mission-aligned partners that provide strategic value that goes beyond capital to support our growth,” Damera added.

The startup partners with top-tier universities including MIT, INSEAD, UC Berkeley, National University of Singapore, and some Ivy League schools as well. The company has offices in India, the U.A.E., Singapore, Mexico, the U.S. and China.

Eruditus has recorded over 50,000 enrolments in the past 12 months, according to the statement. The company is reportedly valued at $700 million.

“The value of the teachings of the great institutions has been rationed to those who can physically and monetarily access their facilities. Eruditus unlocks those assets and enables those institutions to help a whole new cohort of learners around the globe,” Head of Investments for India at Prosus Ventures, Ashutosh Sharma noted in the statement.

Eruditus had last raised funding in 2018, a Series C round for $40 million from Sequoia Capital India and Bertelsmann India Investments. The round followed a debt financing round of $2.3 million from InnoVen Capital in the same year.

Bertelsmann India Investments had earlier funded the company’s $8 million Series B round of financing in 2017. Eruditus raised its Series A round for an undisclosed amount just a year before this, in 2016.

Managing Partner of Leeds Illuminate Susan Cates noted in the statement that the startup acts as a “connective tissue” between professional talent and global universities,

“Innovative and interactive courses focused on skills of the future, delivered by sought-after global brands, create upward economic mobility for learners across the world,” Cates also said.

While COVID-19 has put additional emphasis on the possibilities of edtech, over the years the industry has led to the creation of domineering unicorns such as Indian startup Byju’s, and U.S.-based Udemy, as well as a number of Chinese unicorns including Yuanfudao, Vipkid, and Zuoyebang.

The year so far has led to several milestones for edtech companies, including these unicorns.

Yuanfudao, for instance, is said to be in the process of raising $1.2 billion in fresh funding. With this round, Yuanfudao’s valuation is expected to surpass that of Byju’s, currently the world’s biggest edtech unicorn.

Byju’s raised funding this year as well, bringing in over $500 million. Further, it also made a $300 million all-cash acquisition deal with WhiteHat Jr. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which has backed Byju’s since 2016, made a partial exit from the company this year for around INR2 billion ($27.5 million at current rates).

ET confirmed the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s investment in Eruditus late last month. Eruditus is expecting considerable profits, doubling its $100 million revenue in the previous year, for fiscal year ending 30 June, 2021, Damera told ET.

“We’re excited to support the growing partnerships between U.S. universities and those in India, China and Latin America that are making truly high-quality education accessible to a broad and diverse range of students,” Managing Partner-Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Vivian Wu said in the statement.

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