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IDGVI News: Media Coverage 2014

Aurus Network raises Rs 18 crore to invest in R&D, mobile technology

29.12.2014 | ET Bureau
By Aditi Shrivastava

BENGALURU: Online education solutions provider Aurus Network has raised a Rs 18-crore series A round in equal partnership with IDG Ventures and Kalaari Capital, which it will invest in its flagship product SuperProfs.com.

SuperProfs offers live online lectures, or classroom solutions, to students through its teachers and professors. "With the new round of funds, we will invest in R&D, mobile technology and expand our product offerings to include more courses like IIT, and IAS study material at SuperProfs," said Piyush Agrawal, chief executive officer at Aurus Network.

The company currently has about 25,000 registered students and 100 professors on its platform. "We are a curated marketplace in the online education space and our objective is to get only the most qualified and credible professors on our platform. Our focus is not on volume, but on the quality of teachers," Agarwal added.

"Education is a long-tail market and extremely fragmented. As a fund, (IDG) has been looking at education for 6-7 years just because of the number of possibilities, with the roadmap ahead being mobile," said Karan Mohla, vice president at IDG Ventures. Aurus claims to be growing 30% month-on-month, and expects to reach a goal of 10 lakh students in two years' time. "The secret sauce for Aurus is the technology disruption the company has brought with getting classroom videos streaming possible at very low bandwidth. This makes the study experience seamless even for long-tail city students where internet connectivity may not be very good," Mohla added. The Bangalorebased company will now look to engage with schools and colleges to attract students. The company gets its revenue from the subscription fee it charges its students and earns a margin of as much as 50%.

This deal would be Kalaari and IDG's fourth investment together. The two funds had earlier jointly invested in companies including online fashion portal Myntra, mobile video streaming company Apalya Technologies and e-lingerie retailer Zivame.

Founded by IIT Kanpur graduate Piyush Agrawal and Sujeet Kumar in 2010, Aurus had raised its first round of funding of about $1 million from Indian Angel Network, HCL Infosystems co-founder Ajai Chowdhry, and former CEO Yahoo India R&D Sharad Sharma. This year, several technology-focused education startups have attracted investor interest, reiterating the belief that the estimated $8-billion test preparation business, which has traditionally been dominated by offline players, is gradually moving online. In May, SAIF Partners and Helion Ventures backed online test preparation start-up Toppr.com, which helps students prepare for JEE and medical entrance exams. The same month, Kalaari and Lightbox Ventures backed Embibe.com, an online test prep portal specialising in engineering entrance exams.