Chan Zuckerberg Initiative backs Indian education startup Eruditus in $113 million fundraise

Mumbai-based Eruditus, which works with top universities globally to offer more than 100 executive-level courses to students in over 80 nations, said on Monday it has raised $113 million in a new financing round as it looks to further scale its business to reach more learners.

The Series D financing round for the 10-year-old startup was co-led by Leeds Illuminate and Prosus Ventures . Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and existing investors Sequoia India and Ved Capital also participated in the round, which brings Eruditus’ to-date raise to over $160 million. Eruditus is now valued at over $700 million, a person familiar with the matter said. Avendus Capital was the financial advisor to Eruditus on this transaction.

Eruditus maintains a tie-up with over 30 top-tier universities including MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, INSEAD, Wharton, UC Berkeley, IIT, IIM, and NUS. The universities and Eruditus work to develop courses that are aimed at offering higher education to students. These courses cost anything between $5,000 to $40,000.

There’s no shortage of startups that offer similar courses to students for free or at the price of a cup of coffee. At a conference last year, Ashwin Damera, Eruditus co-founder and chief executive of Eruditus, said his startup provides a range of additional offerings including tailored learning and tracks the outcome of the course in a student’s life.

The startup, which has offices in six countries and employs over 650 people, said it has enrolled 50,000 students in the past 12 months.

Eruditus is the second startup that Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has backed in India. Its first investment in the country, Byju’s, also operates in the edtech market. (In fact, it’s grown to become the most valued edtech startup in the world.)

“Eruditus serves as a critical innovation partner for top universities as they expand online course offerings in response to workforce needs and market demand,” said Vivian Wu, Managing Partner, Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in a statement. “We’re excited to support the growing partnerships between U.S. universities and those in India, China and Latin America that are making truly high-quality education accessible to a broad and diverse range of students.”

Eruditus said it will use the fresh capital to partner with more universities and expand in emerging markets. It said it also wants to invest in developing career-ready courses to help the workforce acquire the skills they need to survive in the post-pandemic world.

“Eruditus’ goals are a great match for ours — democratizing access of quality resources for a much broader audience. The value of the teachings of the great institutions has been rationed to those who can physically and monetarily access their facilities. Eruditus unlocks those assets and enables those institutions to help a whole new cohort of learners around the globe,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Head of Investments for India at Prosus Ventures, which has invested in six edtech startups including Byju’s.

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