FrontRow, a celebrity-powered learning and community platform focused on creative arts and sports, has raised $3.2 million in a seed funding round to add more courses and expand its offerings.
The round was led by VC firms Lightspeed Venture Partners and Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners), with participation from the family office of Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone, according to a statement.
Founded by Mikhil Raj, Shubhadit Sharma, and Ishaan Preet Singh in 2020, FrontRow aims to enable everyone to pursue their passions – get better, learn from the best and get noticed. The platform offers classes taught by the celebrities in the field, currently in creative arts and sports, paired with a community platform that gives learners regular activities, competitions, and peer engagement to practice and showcase their talent.
FrontRow claims celebrities such as cricketers Suresh Raina and Yuzvendra Chahal, singer Neha Kakkar, and comedian Biswa Kalyan Rath, among others, as some of its instructors.
The company claims to have thousands of beta users participating in its pre-launch community groups. It claims to have users from across the country with massive pull from small towns such as Shivpur.
Talking a bit about the interest of the learners on the courses, Mikhil Raj, co-founder of FrontRow, said,
“Each one of them recalled that they faced problems while learning as well, and they wished they had access to courses like this when they were starting out. The instructors are all extremely bought into the concept, and we’re excited to have most of them as part of our cap table as well.”
FrontRow plans to use the fresh capital to add more courses and categories, expand its community offerings, and try various course formats. The company said it currently has about eight courses and will launch six more over the next couple of months.
Commenting on the funding, Akshay Bhushan, Partner at Lightspeed, said,
“We’ve known this team for years and are extremely excited to back a team building a new paradigm for learning – a cross between learning, entertainment, and community. We’ve been early investors across these categories with Byju’s and Sharechat, and believe that a solution needs to pick the best from all of them.”
Sharing about her interests during her early years and on the new partnership with the FrontRow team, Deepika Padukone said,
“Growing up, I wasn’t exactly academically inclined. My interests were in diverse spheres and activities outside of the traditional classroom – dance, sports, music, modeling and performance arts, to name a few. And if there’s one thing I wish I had access to while growing up, it would be a platform like FrontRow – one that gives individuals access to abundant knowledge in non-academic fields as well as connects them to a community of peers and professionals in their field of interest. I’m glad that this gap in education has now been identified, and I look forward to partnering with this dynamic team on what I believe is going to be an exciting journey ahead.”
The Mumbai and Bengaluru-based startup said that its courses are currently priced at Rs 500 and it will range in between Rs 500 to Rs 2000. It is a one-time payment for accessig the recorded courses.