HobSpace, a Mumbai-based global chess platform for kids, announced that it has raised $4.5 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Mankekar Family Office, with participation from Artha Venture Fund, Siddharth Shah and API Holdings’ Dharmil Sheth, among others.
According to the official statement, the company plans to use the fund for deeper investment in product and technology, to enhance the overall experience for the students and to accelerate global expansion.
Co-founded in 2019 by Priya Goel Sheth, Bhaskar Raju Konduru and Harsh Jain, HobSpace is an online chess learning and playing platform for children, having taught over 15,000 kids across North America, India, the United Kingdom, and other regions. It offers extensive coaching for complete beginners to professional players through highly skilled and renowned chess coaches that are internationally trained.
The platform focuses on giving children a personalized chess space, where the young learners and their trainers are matched according to the learning pattern of the kid. It has a curriculum curated by Grandmaster RB Ramesh himself, which consists of chess lessons curated in a manner that helps children to discover their potential. Chess curriculum is divided into three major levels– Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, where at every level the kid learns chess according to their level of understanding. After every level the child learns and gets one step closer to develop their mindset. Every month there are a series of Tournaments where kids from all over the world come together and compete, and ensures healthy competition and team-spirit amongst kids.
Talking about the platform, Co-founder of HobSpace, Harsh Jain, said:
"We are a mission-driven company and are pleased to accelerate the next step of growth through this funding. Today, there is no reason why a child living in India cannot receive quality training from a teacher in the US, or vice versa. At HobSpace, we are crossing borders to provide only the best-in-class chess learning to kids."
The startup was originally founded as a platform for extra-curricular activities but pivoted to a chess learning platform last year. With specialised coaches based out of India, the US, the UK, and other countries, HobSpace enables children and teens to master the complexities of the game.
Adding further about the company, Co-founder of HobSpace, Priya G Sheth, said:
"We believe that chess is not just a 21st century skill - i—t is, in fact, a life skill. Students who play chess early in life grow up to become well-rounded individuals. Playing chess challenges the intellect and makes kids smarter. The game challenges the mind and sharpens vital analytical, problem-solving, attention, and memory skills. HobSpace has created the perfect chess curriculum for kids that provides guided training, practice and game analysis."
Commenting on the funding, Co-founder of HobSpace, Bhaskar Raju Konduru, said:
"We are building a world-class online-first, global chess academy. The fresh round of funding will allow us to use technology to expand the global chess community and make chess coaching accessible to children all over the world."
Last year in January, HobSpace had raised INR 1 Crore in its pre-Series A1 round led by angel investment platform Inflection Point Ventures.