Companies

Edtech start-up LEAD becomes third unicorn of 2022

Yatti Soni | Updated on: Jan 13, 2022
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Raises $100 million from WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures.

Bengaluru, January 13

LEAD has become the third unicorn of 2022, with a $100-million fundraise from WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures.

With this round, LEAD has raised a total of $170 million across five funding rounds, and the company’s valuation doubled in last nine months to touch $1.1 billion (unicorn valuation).

Speaking to BusinessLine about the growth in valuation, Smita Deorah, Cofounder and COO, LEAD, said, “We have been growing by 2.5/3x year on year for the last four years. In 2021, we were serving 2,000 schools with 800,000 students, and by the time we enter the new academic year of 2022, we will be serving 5,000 schools with 2 million students. This growth comes on the back of strong and visible student outcomes.

LEAD students are said to have seen over 20-25 per cent learning growth during the year, resulting in increased school interest in the company. Further, the company has also expanded its product offerings, to include multiple boards and new skill areas like coding and computational thinking skills. 

Transform schooling

The edtech company aims to transform core schooling in India with its full stack school edtech solutions. LEAD has specific interfaces for each stakeholder in the school system including teachers, students, parents, school principal and school owner. Along with the specific apps, teachers also get a kit of student learning material and students get LEAD books and workbooks for at-home learning, among other offerings. The company offerings range across all subjects and skill areas that students learn in school - English, Math, Science, Social Science, Hindi, Coding, and Life skills. 

“We are in a school edtech space instead of the consumer edtech segment where most edtech companies are present. This is a conscious choice that we have made, because school is where students spend six hours daily. That’s where core learning happens, and that’s where deep impact and child development is possible,” said Deorah. 

Further, LEAD primarily works with schools in Tier 2, 3, 4 towns, that are beyond the top 10,000 – 12,000 schools in the country which have high fees, well-educated parents and skilled teachers. “Because 450,000 schools are the ones which need most of the help from an integrated tech solution like ours,” she added.

Product development, expansion

While the company is not profitable currently, LEAD claims to have strong unit economics. The company has been investing heavily in product development and expansion over the past two years. These investments are expected to continue this year as well and LEAD expects to break-even by 2023. 

LEAD operates like a typical SaaS company, where the company’s customer acquisition happens a year before they start using the product. This means that, if LEAD acquires a school this year, they will start using us in the next academic year. Therefore, the company’s spending is front-loaded.

“We raised this funding round to fuel our growth. We are also ensuring that we invest in technology and curriculum with fresh funds so that we are always at the cutting edge. Those are the two big investment areas and then we are looking at inorganic growth opportunities,” said Deorah. In the long term, the company plans to go deeper in the country to serve students in lower fee schools and expand internationally in similar geographies.

Published on January 13, 2022

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