LEAD School becomes 3rd Indian Unicorn in 2022, raises $100 Mn at $1.1 Bn Valuation

Lead School Sumeet mehta

Edtech Startup LEAD School has raised $100 million led by GSV Ventures and WestBridge Capital, doubling its valuation in less than a year to $1.1 billion.

The startup has raised a total of $169 Mn to date. With the latest fundraise, Lead School has become the third startup to enter India’s unicorn club in 2022, after D2C Major Mamaearth and Deeptech Startup Fractal. It is also the sixth Indian edtech company to reach unicorn status.

LEAD School is founded in 2012 by Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah, to create affordable private schooling by amalgamating technology and curriculum into teaching and learning processes. With this model, the startup aims to take education to small towns at affordable pricing to better serve students belonging to middle and low-income groups.

LEAD School works with 5,000 schools across 500 cities. By the start of the next fiscal, the company aims to reach 2 million students across the country. Mehta said the edtech firm has hit an annual contract value (garnered from partnering schools) of $80 million in 2021-22.

Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder of LEAD School, said, “In K-12, everyone has been talking about edtech that is direct to students by circumventing schools. And everyone focuses on test prep and tuition. Because people have accepted that schools cannot be improved. But we thought differently. That’s why we focussed on a school-based edtech solution.”

India has about 1.5 million schools, of which half a million are privately run. Mehta said Lead School has reached just 1% of that number which is 5,000. “Lead adopts an outcome orientation for schools. Students’ learning outcomes have improved by 20-25%… This funding will funnel much-needed innovation towards schools in India,” Mehta further said.

Sandeep Singhal, Managing Director at WestBridge Capital, said, “Lead’s growth last year, despite Covid disruptions, underlines its consumer-first approach and deep focus on learning outcomes. We are excited to double down our investment in Lead, to support its mission of transforming the education sector in India.”

“LEAD’s quality of education is already revolutionising the way in which Indian students are taught at scale,” said Rohan Malhotra, Managing Partner at Good Capital, one of the early investors of LEAD School.

Deborah Quazzo, Managing Partner at GSV Ventures, said, “LEAD School acts as the Intel inside for affordable schools and guarantees 70%+ mastery in all subjects and all grades for low/middle income students and exceeds the guarantee. We, at GSV, believe that the mastery guarantee is a revolutionary offering in K12 education space and has the potential to be societally transformational for students. With this strong and unique value proposition and exceptional management team, LEAD is well on its path to become world’s largest and most impactful school edtech company.”

In 2021, the Indian edtech sector saw tutoring platform Vedantu, executive education platform Eruditus, as well as upskilling platform upGrad, raise equity funding and join the esteemed Unicorn club. India is home to over 250 million students. In recent years, scores of startups like upGrad have started to explore ways to provide high-class education at affordable pricing around a value-based model.

This comes at a time when Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that his office is in discussions to draw a regulatory policy for the rapidly growing Indian edtech sector.

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  • Online Team Asia Tech is a team of Journalists, Entrepreneurs, and Enthusiast Writers who contribute to the platform by bringing everyday stories, updates, opinions and insights from the Asian Startup Ecosystem.

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