The Gurgaon-headquartered educational technology startup, PlanetSpark has raised INR3.2 crore in Pre-Series A funding round. The investment was made by Indian Angel Network, Lead Angels and Hyderabad Angels. The startup will employ the funds in extending its business into new geographies and surging enrolments by 10 times in the coming 12-15 months.
Existing seed investor and one of India’s largest education companies, FIITJEE Limited, also participated in this round, showing its faith in the company’s vision, PlanetSpark said in its statements.
Vikas Kuthiala and Nitin Zamre, who are members of IAN, led the deal on behalf of the New Delhi-based angel network.
“Pure online learning through videos is passive and suffers from very poor completion rates. The presence of a dedicated space, time and a mentor is essential for young kids to learn effectively. Hence, we blend online with an offline experience at our neighbourhood learning spaces where kids can learn academic skills (English, Maths, Science) and 21st-century skills (coding, robotics, public speaking, etc) in the presence of a qualified teacher,” Kunal Malik, Co-Founder at PlanetSpark, said.
PlanetSpark essentially offers learning zones in the vicinity where children can go and learn, as well as develop, all the new-age skills under one roof. Its product offering gives online learning along with an offline experience for young children in grades K-8 via its in-house learning products.
The startup works in an asset-light model of collaborating with unutilized assets in pre-schools, schools and strategic partners like Oyo Townhouse to establish its neighbourhood blended-learning centres at a nominal cost and scalable way.
“Through our asset-light model and an omnichannel approach, our acquisition costs go down considerably with time. As a Learning Zone grows, its brand builds in the area and it acts like a magnet to attract more students due to network effects, with a 42 per cent referral rate. Due to our face to face interaction with children and learning analytics and live-feed system for parents, our engagement is very high, leading to 95 per cent retention rates”, said Maneesh Dhooper, Co-founder.
“We are always passionate about the team that brings a fresh perspective to the industry,” Ankul Maheshwari, Founder at the Delhi-based CENSIE, who acted as the adviser to Planetspark for this deal, said.
As per a KPMG’s report, primary and secondary supplemental education will be the largest online education category at 773 Million by 2021 and growing at CAGR of 60 per cent. While the grade 9 to 12 market has seen a red ocean with numerous big players established in the market in the past 20 years. There has been no trusted brand in the K-8 space to cater to the needs of young parents looking to develop their kids.
The edtech industry is growing exponentially trying to help young children develop new-age skills throughout the globe, especially in the US and other foreign nations addressing the need to train children to turn into critical thinkers and problem solvers in the constant shifting world. It is the latest trend employing a Blended Learning model which amalgamates online as well as offline.
PlanetSpark says that it is uniquely positioned to leverage its products and offline play to capture the market. The Gurgaon-based edtech startup, which was founded in 2016, is the brainchild of Maneesh Dhooper and Kunal Malik. Kunal Malik, the Co-founder of PlanetSpark, was a former Unilever business leader with vast experience in business partnering, supply chain and sales across various locations, including the Unilever Goa factory. Kunal is a graduate from XLRI Jamshedpur and an engineer from Dhirubhai Ambani-IICT, Ahmedabad.
While Maneesh Dhooper, who is the other founder of PlanetSpark, was former AVP of Education Services at UrbanClap. He has created the education services business and expanded it to 4 cities, across five different categories. He has formerly founded an ed-tech venture named, Jobingo and also, has led the corporate learning varsity at Novartis Pharma in Switzerland. He has received his education from XLRI Jamshedpur, earned an MBA degree and NSIT Delhi, earned an engineering degree.
In September last year, OYO Hotels & Homes, a subsidiary of OYO had joined hands with the Gurugram-based edtech, PlanetSpark in the education space. As per the partnership, OYO agreed to offer space in its entrepreneurial initiative, OYO Townhouse across India to the edtech startup to initiate over 500 ‘new age’ learning centres for children across India, reported ET Brand Equity
According to the media report, PlanetSpark had said that with 400 learning centers across all the 7 Indian metros currently, it plans to scale-up and fulfill the demand that is being generated on its mobile app and other digital platforms.