LEAD School, an EdTech startup which offers integrated software for schools, has raised $100 million in fresh funding at a valuation of $1.1 billion, making it the country’s third unicorn in 2022.
The Series E funding round was led by WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures.
The Mumbai-based startup plans to use the proceeds to achieve its vision of providing quality affordable education to 25 million students with an annual revenue run-rate of $1 billion. The immediate focus would be towards product and curriculum innovation, growth in its footprint and hiring top talent across functions.
Founded by Sumeet Yashpal Mehta and Smita Deorah in 2012, LEAD School provides tech-enabled solutions to schools with a focus on digital learning through an online or hybrid model (of physical and digital) of classrooms. It empowers private school owners with unmatched Admission Growth and Marketing Solutions, minimizing operational costs and ensuring high-quality affordable education to more and more students. Lead School ties up with schools instead of going direct to children.
The platform works closely with students to understand the areas where they need improvements. LEAD School has found that the biggest challenge most students face is in understanding English, a factor that also impacts how they grasp most other subjects.
Speaking about the company, Co-founder of LEAD School, Sumeet Yashpal, said in a statement, "An average student spends six hours in school and only one hour in tuition. Transforming schools, when done right, has massive potential to alter our country’s future. Lead, with its integrated school system has broken new ground in this direction. Our intense focus has been on learning outcomes and life success of our students. And this has resulted in not only strong adoption and retention by schools but also interest from investors who value returns with real impact."
The startup claims to have seen rapid adoption of its software tools in the last four years. It plans to onboard more than 5,000 schools in 500 cities by academic year-end 2022-2023 with an annual run-rate of $80 million. This translates to more than 2 million students accessing its platform in the next one year.
Commenting on the funding, WestBridge Capital Managing Director, Sandeep Singhal, said, "We are excited to double down our investment in LEAD, to support its mission of transforming the education sector in India and touching the lives of millions of students."
In the long term, the company also plans to go deeper in the country to serve students in lower fee schools and expand internationally in similar geographies. To date, the start-up has raised close to $166 million in funding, including the current round.
LEAD School valuation has doubled in the last nine months on the back of strong growth in its operating and financial metrics. The current round is its fifth round of institutional funding since 2017.
Last year in April, LEAD School had raised $30 million as a part of its Series D funding round led by Silicon Valley-based GSV Ventures, with participation from existing investor WestBridge Capital.