Getting an investor to back a venture is among the foremost issues faced by most startups in India. To make the journey easier for EdTech startups seeking equity funding and support, Delhi-based Edupreneur Village (EV), early stage Venture Capital fund, backed by Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS), launched Edupreneur Village Challenge in 2018. Now, crores of VC funding await to transform promising ideas of select EdTech entrepreneurs at the Edupreneur Village Challenge: Final Battle which will be held on 31st August 2019 in Delhi.
Future looks favourable for Indian EdTech startups
Research indicates that India’s online education market is expected to be worth USD 1.96 billion with 9.6 million users by 2021. Technology is transforming the education system in India. These days, students prefer the convenience and the flexibility of studying online. Smart classrooms, learning apps, on-the-go learning devices, etc. are changing the education landscape. Investors and entrepreneurs alike, are eager to utilise the opportunities for businesses functioning in the education-technology sector. Also, EdTech ventures can support the economic growth of the country with their growth-oriented solutions. These solutions can be offline or online ideas to deliver user-friendly educational content to students in the remotest areas or products to enable youth with skill-based online education to increase employability. In the increasing pool of ideas by aspiring EdTech startup entrepreneurs, investors thoroughly vet the viability and potential of the idea before coming forward to discuss funding. Also, ideas that are scalable while staying profitable are more likely to survive being quickly obsolete in this era of disruptive innovation.
Today’s innovators are unafraid to experiment with futuristic technologies such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), etc. for offering personalised and effective learning experiences to users. In India, thousands of startups are vying the attention of investors across industries such as EdTech, FinTech, AgriTech, etc. In such a competitive scenario, an EdTech-focussed investment support initiative such as Edupreneur Village Challenge is a welcome change by entrepreneurs aiming to fly high in the Education-Technology sector.
Towards India’s first-of-its-kind live EdTech investment event
Delhi-based Edupreneur Village, India’s first education-focussed fund aims to bring together early stage startups and investors for turning disruptive entrepreneurial ideas into billion dollar ventures. EdTech entrepreneurs jumped in to grab the opportunity when Edupreneur Village Challenge invited investment applications between Oct-Dec 2018. In Jan-Feb 2019, 1,100+ early stage startups were shortlisted from the registered 11,000+ EdTech startups. Detailed feedback was given to all those who submitted investment applications, to improve business model and ideas, and were encouraged to re-apply in Edupreneur Village Challenge 2.0. In Mar-Apr 2019, as part of the Round 1 of the challenge, 50 startups were shortlisted. Edupreneur Village supported these 50 startups to create a detailed business information book through iterative investment readiness sessions. From the 50 startups, 30 startups were invited to pitch their ideas to an investment committee represented by key people from 15+ organisations from the Indian education system during Apr-May 2019. The 12 finalists with an improved business plan will pitch their ideas in the live finale event: The Final Battle.
Puducherry-based Sri Aurobindo Society started the early stage VC fund, Edupreneur Village with a focus on Education-Technology. The fund enables the society to invest in deserving Ed-Tech startups across India. Edupreneur Village also supports startups to acquire Series A funding through business plan counselling, fund raising and scaling-up support.
Access to powerful VCs, non-profit network support and more
On 31st August 2019, 12 startups will fight The Final Battle to win crores of VC funding by pitching their ideas to 50+ investors in a live event in Delhi. Edupreneur Village has been grooming the chosen startups with support sessions to prepare for the final pitch. The start-ups are now ready with a detailed business plan, market research data, information book, and pitch deck to present their ideas to investors keen on investing in the EdTech space, including VC Funds, Angel Networks and Angel Investors.
The challenge is supported by registered investors including SAIF Partners, Blume Ventures, Lumis Partners, Tomorrow Capital, Orios Venture Partners, Indian Angel Network, Eustan Ventures, JSW and many more. The finale event will be based on the successful Shark Tank live pitching model wherein 12 early-stage EdTech startups will pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of powerful judges on stage. These startups have been made investment-ready with investment readiness sessions and meetings over a period of 10 months. Structured early-stage EdTech investing will follow for enabling the challenge winners to expand their disruptive EdTech ideas.
In addition, Sri Aurobindo Society is a non-profit with a network of 300+ centres worldwide. Their Zero Investment Innovation in Education Initiatives (ZIIEI) is an education reform programme running in 3 lakh schools across 22 Indian states. 1.5 million school teachers and 30 million school children are part of the ZIIEI programme. Under the ZIIEI Programme, the Society recently launched the Teacher Innovation Award, which is a National Award for zero investment innovative ideas in education initiatives across India. Till date, the campaign has received more than 8 lakh innovative ideas from teachers across India.
With Edupreneur Village, Sri Aurobindo Society extends support to startups with market access to scale up their ideas for profit through its extensive non-profit education network.
Building ties to push the growth of early stage startups
Entrepreneur Village Fund will take a new leap with its recent partnership announcement with Lead Angels, one of the leading angel networks in India. Sri Aurobindo Society has already signed the MoU with Lead Angels for investing in promising EdTech startups through the Entrepreneur Village platform. According to Sambhrant Sharma, Director- Education, SAS, “Sri Aurobindo Society is known for its education initiatives and is now proactively encouraging EdTech entrepreneurs through investments by Edupreneur Village.” Sushanto Mitro, the former CEO of IIT Bombay’s incubator Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), founded Lead Angels. About the partnership, Sushanto Mitra, Founder & CEO, Lead Angels, said “The MoU is a landmark for the Indian startup ecosystem. In that it brings a vast and powerful network with a global footprint into early stage investing.”
In the last five years, Lead Angels has invested in 30 early stage startups including marquee startups such as SuprDaily, TinMen, Planet Superheroes, HelloVerify, and ShopKirana. Today, Lead Angels offers full stack services providing support at every stage of a startup’s life cycle. There are 130+ investors part of the Lead Angel network with active chapters in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Started and supported by alumni of premier institutes, Lead Angels uses its network to provide early stage funding to startups. Post investment advisory services is also provided to firms who want to raise growth capital. Through LA Management & Professional Services (LAMPS), the company offers assistance to help companies with government/compliance needs, reporting systems and more for startups.
Countdown begins for the tussle of EdTech ideas
The Edupreneur Village Challenge: The Final Battle event will be held on 31st August 2019 at Delhi. 300+ EdTech industry participants and startup enthusiasts are expected to witness the tussle of EdTech ideas. At the event, entrepreneurs will be able to learn and find inspiration from the live investment pitches of polished startup ideas. Also, investors can update themselves with the latest innovations in the EdTech space and discover innovative startups who seek funding.
Catch 12 early stage EdTech startup entrepreneurs present live investment pitches to 50+ VCs and Angel investors. The power-packed interaction will end with announcement of the final investment decisions of Edupreneur Village and the Investors on startups who won the challenge and managed to gain funding for growing disruptive ideas that they are passionate about.
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