By Sainul K Abudheen
Noida-based e-learning company iProf Learning Solutions India Pvt Ltd has secured $9 million (Rs 56 crore) in Series B round of funding, led by Daily Mail Group Information (DMGI) on behalf of its education subsidiary Hobsons, with participation from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners and IDG Ventures. The capital will be used to take its product SchoolEra, an automated school management platform, to more schools in India and globally.
With this round, the total capital raised by iProf has reached $15 million. In March 2011, it had raised$6 million from US-based test prep leader Kaplan Ventures, Norwest and IDG.
“Since inception, we have endeavoured to improve the quality of education in India by using innovative technology solutions. We created an online digital library which is being used by hundreds of thousands of students,” said Sanjay Purohit, founder and CEO, iProf.
The firm was founded in 2009 by Purohit, an IAS officer who is also a graduate of IIM Ahmedabad as well as IIT Bombay. Prior to starting iProf, he was managing director of New York-based business restructuring firm LMCO. Previously, he was CEO of Dan River (US). He had also held various top roles at Colwell and Salmon, Cartel, Best and Baker, AT&T Wireless and Motorola. He was also part of the founding team at outsourcing firm Epicenter Technologies.
iProf provides digital content in both online and offline (pen drive, SD cards, tablet PC & mobile) modes of content delivery to students. In the online mode, students can login into their accounts, access the content based on their grade and subjects, view online notes, download assignments, and take tests.
It also provides an android app which can work even without internet connection. In the offline mode, students get the education content in preloaded pen drives and SD cards which can be used in Windows (desktop/laptop) and Android & Windows (tablet PC)-based operating systems, respectively.
Students can learn & revise concepts for school curriculum (class IX to XII) and & entrance tests like IIT JEE, AIPMT (NEET), and CA-CPT, using the firm’s solutions. Its clients include Macmillan, Simmtronics, Lava, McGraw Hill Education and state government of Meghalaya. The firm claims that its solutions are used by millions of customers (both online and offline).
This is Norwest’s first known investment this month while it is IDG’s fourth. IDG invested an undisclosed amount in FieldEZ, along with IvyCap Ventures, last week. IDG also invested $3.75 million in Firstcry.com, a hybrid online-offline baby & kids products retailer, along with Vertex Venture Holdings, a venture investment arm of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, and SAIF Partners.
Early this month, IDG, along with Asian Healthcare Fund and Accel Partners, participated in an $8 million funding round in medical devices company Forus Health. Investments in Firstcry and Forus were additional commitment to existing portfolio firms while FieldEZ adds a new firm to its portfolio.
Previously in a similar deal—where a media group holding firm buying stake in an online Indian firm in the education space—Pearson acquired TutorVista, after picking a minority stake in the local firm. Pearson is also the owner of Financial Times.
Daily Mail Group runs UK-based Daily Mail tabloid besides owning Hobsons which is engaged in educational services and solutions.