By Biswarup Gooptu
NEW DELHI: iProf Learning Solutions has raised $9 million (Rs. 55 crore) from a consortium of investors, led by global education research and technology company Hobsons, the Noida-based e-learning company announced on Thursday.
Proceeds from the series B round of financing, in which iProf's existing backers, early-to-mid stage venture capital firms IDG Ventures India and Norwest Venture Partners, also participated, will be used by the company to finance acquisitions, expand its network and consolidate its position as a market leader. The stake diluted by the company's founder was, however, not disclosed. Hobsons is the US-based education services and technology unit of diversified media conglomerate Daily Mail and General Trust.
"Through this investment, we will continue to expand our geographical footprint in South Asia while exploring opportunities to contribute to new K-12 solutions that will help students in India achieve their post-secondary goals," said Craig Heldman, chief executive of Hobsons. iProf has, till date, raised a total of $15 million (Rs. 92.9 crore) across two rounds from its venture capital investors. In 2011, the company raised Rs. 22 crore from IDG Ventures India and Norwest Venture Partners.
"iProf has created a business model which works for education technology companies in India and neighbouring markets. The combination of online and offline, with lessons/contents delivered on tablets and smart phones is gaining acceptance," said Mohan Kumar, executive director at Norwest Venture Partners.
Founded in 2010 by IIT Mumbai and IIM Ahmedabad alumnus Sanjay Purohit, iProf Learning provides both online and offline - through tablets, personal computers and mobile - mode of content delivery to students, using Learning Management System at its back end.
"iProf is essential to the Indian education growth story as it is the future of learning in India and worldwide," said Sudhir Sethi, founder chairman and managing director of IDG Ventures.
Risk capital has once again turned its eye on the Indian e-learning space. Earlier this week, ET had reported that LIQVID e-Learning was in talks to raise up to $10 million to fund its expansion plans among others. In 2013, British media company Pearson Plc. completed its acquisition of Bangalore-based education services company TutorVista, providing a handsome exit for the latter's investors Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Ventures.