CollegeDekho, India’s largest college admissions and higher education services platform, closes its Series B funding with Disrupt ADQ and QIC coming on board recently. The USD 35 million (~INR 260 crore) round has been led by Winter Capital, ETS Strategic Capital – the private equity investments arm of ETS (creator of the TOEFL® tests and GRE® General Test), Calega and existing investor Man Capital.
Ruchir Arora, Founder & CEO, CollegeDekho
CollegeDekho is planning to use the funds to further improve its offerings for students and colleges both within India and Abroad. The company will increase its investment in products and technology while growing new verticals like Ed-Fin-Tech, student accommodation and coaching for higher Education. It is also considering expanding its study abroad services in global markets. The company will also use the funds raised for acquisitions and consolidation that make strategic sense.
Founded in 2015, CollegeDekho is on a mission to institutionalize students’ counselling in India. It connects prospective students with colleges using its proprietary technology and AI-based conversation bot. Its Common Application Form platform, which enables students to apply to multiple colleges with a single click, is largest of its kind in India. For Study Abroad students, CollegeDekho offers a full range of services from Profile Building, Test Preparation, to Application Assistance, University Selection and Visa Assistance.
CollegeDekho has recently launched innovative 0% EMI based education financing and insurance products to enable more and more students to get access to an education of their choice. The platform helps colleges by making their admissions more efficient and predictable. The company plans to build services to help students with higher education coaching as well as student accommodation services.
In his comments about closing of Series B funding, Mr. Ruchir Arora, Founder & CEO, CollegeDekho, said, “We believe that our sound business model, innovative products, our commitment to excellence in service delivery, and growing Student base continue to help us win the trust of investors who have global exposure and experience in higher Ed tech. Their participation in our growth story is a testimony that we are delivering on our mission of transforming the higher education journey of students. Following the fruitful completion of Series B funding, we will be expanding our team, and platforms to serve a larger number of students and colleges. We will also increase our investment in products and technologies, while fueling our growth in our new verticals such as education loans, student accommodation and coaching for higher ed. Even as we double down on our efforts to increase our reach in the Indian market, we will also consider expanding our presence abroad.”
In their comments the existing investors placed on record their hopes of the promising growth prospects of CollegeDekho. Mr. Anton Farlenkov, Managing Director at Winter Capital Advisors, said, “We are happy to welcome ADQ and QIC along with ETS Strategic Capital as our co-investor in CollegeDekho. We are convinced that partners as solid as these joining the pool of investors further strengthens the prospects of success for CollegeDekho and proves the value of investment in Ed-Tech, which is poised to reach US $ 10 billion in size in the next 5-10 years, from about US $ 2.5 billion today. We see our investment in CollegeDekho as promising and well aligned with our strategy to expand our investment portfolio via dynamic, high-quality assets.”
“We continue to identify and invest in companies both domestically and internationally whose missions and long-term vision align with that of ETS,” said Ralph Taylor-Smith, Managing Director of ETS Strategic Capital.
“We are pleased to see continued investment in College Dekho that furthers our shared goals of advancing access and equity in education for all learners around the globe,” concluded Ralph.
Mr. Mohamed Mansour, Chairman of Man Capital, commented, “We are glad to have partnered with CollegeDekho’s founders since day one and delighted to have been joined by Winter Capital and ETS Strategic Capital along with ADQ and QIC as co-investors. We continue to believe and support the company’s vision. CollegeDekho is at the forefront of a rapidly expanding and growing Ed-Tech market in India. In addition to the exponential growth in college admission and wider India Ed-Tech market, we are also seeing a rise in integrated solutions for college students across the globe. We believe that CollegeDekho is very well positioned to expand its services and reach to become a leading global player over the coming years.”
The higher education market accounts for over 50% of the Indian education market. At US $ 135 billion in FY20 its larger than the K-12 market in value terms. With India’s higher education Gross Enrollment Ratio targeted to grow to 50% in the next ten years along with the initiatives led by NEP, the higher education market is expected to grow at a fast pace over the coming years.
Note to the Editor: CollegeDekho had made an interim announcement on the initial amount secured in September 2021. With the fresh funding raised from new investors Disrupt ADQ and QIC, the startup has closed its Series B with $ 35mn.
About Winter Capital Partners (WCP) Investment Funds (www.wintercapital.com)
With total assets under management exceeding $1 billion, Winter Capital Partners (WCP) investment funds focus on private equity and venture capital investments globally. The funds invest in fast-growing technology companies in a number of selected verticals: healthcare, education, financial and consumer services.
About ETS Strategic Capital (www.ets.capital)
ETS Strategic Capital serves as the private equity investment and M&A execution arm for ETS, its subsidiaries and its partners, sourcing transactions within both the domestic United States and internationally. The unit partners with the broader Ed-Tech ecosystem to identify and execute deals, coordinate with other ETS business units to identify opportunities and needs, network with professional services firms with education expertise, and build direct relationships with businesses internationally – especially within Europe, Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa (MENA) regions. ETS Strategic Capital targets private equity investments that are typically in Series B, C or later; acquisitions that are middle-market in scale; and growth partnerships that may involve joint ventures (JVs), channel-affiliate or distribution agreements, Intellectual Property (IP) licensing and technology-transfer relationships.
About ETS (www.ets.org)
At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions, and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a non-profit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually – including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments – in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.
About Disrupt ADQ
DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, was launched to accelerate the future of innovation. The platform offers productive incubation, investment and commercial scaling opportunities for tech start-ups in a state-of-the-art infrastructure for a digital led age. DisruptAD aims to advance R&D and unleash the potential of the UAE’s innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem through highly skilled tech talent.
DisruptAD is attracting and creating a thriving community of founders, fund managers, incubators, and accelerators to globally build, support and scale disruptive technologies from Abu Dhabi.
Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) is a publicly listed insurer with a consistent performance history of over 50 years and a global underwriting footprint. It is the largest insurance company in the Middle East & North Africa region and carries an A/Stable rating by S&P.
Calega is a family office based in Dubai & has diverse business interests – Logistics, oil & gas, distribution & Investments. Calega and its founder investor network collectively have been investing in early stage technology enabled ventures over the last few years including in the areas of Ed-tech, Consumer Tech, AI and B2B logistics.
About Man Capital (www.man-capital.com)
Man Capital is the investment arm of the Mansour Group, a global, family-owned conglomerate with over 60,000 employees, a presence in more than 100 countries and total revenues exceeding $ 7.5 billion. Its businesses operate across a large range of sectors including automotive, banking, consumer goods, education, healthcare, machinery & equipment, media, oil & gas, real estate, technology, and transport and logistics.
About CollegeDekho (www.collegedekho.com)
CollegeDekho is India’s largest Ed-Tech platform for higher education services. Since its inception in 2015, CollegeDekho has counselled more than 2 million students and has helped almost 1000 colleges with their student recruitments. With more than 100 million sessions on its website in 2020, CollegeDekho is also proud of owning India’s largest common application form platform (CAF) which has serviced more than half a million applications by 2020. CollegeDekho also offers a full range of Study Abroad services from discovery to admission. The latest introduction of Ed-Fin-Tech offerings are powered by a simple vision to help each student get access to higher education of their choice.
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