On 31st August at The Leela Ambience Hotel Delhi, Edupreneur Village Fund, hosted India’s first-of-its-kind live EdTech investment event: The Final Battle. Modelled on the lines of Shark Tank, the popular American Business Reality TV series, it had 12 super curated early-stage Ed-Tech Startups, finalized from 1100+ Investment Applications. On the day of The Final Battle, the finalists pitched for investment in front of 50+ Investors, as well as 350+ EdTech industry participants and startup enthusiasts who witnessed the event.
The Final Battle followed the Edupreneur Village Challenge, which took place during Oct to Dec 2018. The Challenge was launched by the Edupreneur Village Fund, and received more than 11,000 registrations and 1100+ investment applications. A thorough feedback was provided to all the investment applications in order to enhance their business models. They were also encouraged to apply again in upcoming Edupreneur Village Challenges. Herein, 50 start-ups were shortlisted in the first round by Feb 2019. Edupreneur Village Fund extended support to these start-ups at every step helping them create an extensive business report. As the next step, 30 out of those 50 start-ups were invited to pitch their ideas to the investment board including some of the prominent figures in the education industry. Thereafter, the top ten finalists were made ready to pitch in their ideas at The Final Battle.
Sri Aurobindo Society initiated the early stage Venture Capital Fund – Edupreneur Village, with a focus on Education-Technology. Edupreneur Village not only invests in early stage EdTech startups across India, but also extends complete support to startups in acquiring Series-A funding through counseling, fund raising, mentorship and scaling-up support, through the Society’s massive education ecosystem network.
Mr. Sambhrant Sharma, Director – Education, Sri Aurobindo Society, mentioned “In true traditions of Sri Aurobindo Society, its new initiative Edupreneur Village offered a robust platform to foster education innovation in the country. We wish to make sure that Education Innovation being done by country’s EdTech start–ups reach millions of students across the country in an affordable manner. This is the only way to improve learning outcomes of teaming millions in the country.”
The Final Battle:
On 31st August, the 10 finalists fought The Final Battle to win crores of VC funding by pitching their ideas to 50+ investors at the Investment Battle event in Delhi. The selected start-ups successfully pitched to the investors, who were keen on investing in the EdTech space, including VC Funds, Angel Networks and Angel Investors.
Venture Capital Funds such as SAIF Partners, Blume, Lumis Partners, Indian Angel Network, Tomorrow Capital, and many more were present at the event.
The event was also graced with the presence of Vijay Bhai, Head of Sri Aurobindo Society, Dr. Satbir Bedi, IAS, Chairperson of the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), Mr. Rajesh Naithani, Advisor to MHRD, Govt. of India, and Mr. Ratnesh Jha, Managing Director, South Asia, Cambridge University Press.
Towards the end of the event, Mr. Nitin Bhalla, Head of Edupreneur Village Fund announced, “It was amazing to see an audience of 350+ and 50+ investors attending the 1st flagship event of Edupreneur Village – The Final Battle. Seeing superlative response, Edupreneur Village will hold even bigger ‘The Final Battle’ next year, giving opportunity to various Education Startups to raise capital from Education focused investors.”
Ahead of the event, Lead Angels Network & Sri Aurobindo Society entered into a strategic partnership for investing in promising EdTech startups through the Entrepreneur Village platform. Lead Angels Network was founded in 2013 and has a network of 130+ angel investors across India as on date.
Among other event partners, the Fund had Marketing & PR Partnership with SH Consultants, an upcoming and aggressive marketing consultancy firm based in Delhi, and Media Partnerships with eminent brands such as VCCircle, Business World, YourStory, and many more.
Sana Hazari, Director of SH Consultants, informs aspiring entrepreneurs to stay tuned for Edupreneur Village Challenge 2.0, the launch of which will be announced soon.
Launch of Auro Scholar:
At the Edupreneur Village Challenge Finale, Sri Aurobindo Society launched their new initiative “Auro Scholar”, a radical first-of-its-kind Scholarship platform, with the objective to give Micro-Scholarships to produce Learning Outcomes of millions.
This programme aims to create a revolutionary ripple effect among current students across India. For this project, the Society has partnered with PayZapp – Mobile Payment Solution by HDFC Bank – to disburse scholarships, Cambridge University Press as the Question Bank Partner, and Scholr – AI driven homework helping EdTech App.
Scholr also happens to be an investee Company of the Edupreneur Village Fund, and has secured early stage round of funding from a range of financial and strategic investors, led by Edupreneur Village Fund. Using Artificial Intelligence technology, Scholr aims to cater 300mn students in any vernacular Indian language.
In addition, another initiative of the Sri Aurobindo Society – Zero Investment Innovation in Education Initiatives (ZIIEI), is an education reform programme running in 3 lakh schools across 22 Indian states. 1.5 million school teachers and 30 million school children are part of the ZIIEI programme. Under the Programme, the Society recently launched the Teacher Innovation Award, which is a National Award for zero investment innovative ideas in education initiatives across India, through which the campaign has received more than 8 lakh innovative ideas from teachers across India.
Results of The Final Battle:
The 500+ audience was gripped till the very end of the event, when the results were declared. The Eduprneur Village Fund declared Investment Declarations in the Startups – Scholr, (AI powered Digital Learning Assistant App for students) and Don’t Memorise (licensing high quality curriculum aligned video content to any education organization working with students). The details of the investment remain undisclosed.
The Fund also announced Partnerships with Mintbook (curates online content from thousands of academic publishers, making it available to students on a pay per use basis), and with One0x (Blockchain technology to foster seamless exchange of Learning Data Records of learners across education institutions).
The Fund also announced Cash Prizes, the details of winners are given below:
INR 3 lakh – Don’t Memorise
INR 2 lakh – One0x
INR 1 lakh – Clap Global (Platform that enables a unique exchange of cultures by helping international travelers visit local classrooms and engage in meaningful and often surprising conversations with students)
INR 50,000 – Mintbook
INR 25,000 – Memory Trix (Helping students memorize the concepts through crowd-sourced, engaging, humorous, locally relevant content built around memorization techniques like mind maps)
Besides the above, The Final Battle received 48 Investment Interests from the Investors to invest in the 10 finalist startups. The investment discussions shall take place over the next few weeks.
The event ended with the team of Edupreneur Village inviting the start–up ecosystem to connect with them to build innovative EdTech ideas, extending support to help revolutionize the Education System.
Summary of the Top 10 startups:
1. Scholr: Artificial Intelligence powered Digital Learning Assistant Platform for students
2. Don’t Memorise: Licensing high quality curriculum aligned video content to any education organization working with students
3. Mintbook: Curating the online content from thousands of academic publishers and making it available to students on a pay per use basis
4. Clap Global: Platform that enables a unique exchange of cultures by helping international travelers visit local classrooms and engage in meaningful and often surprising conversations with students
5. Witblox: Taking inspiration from engaging cartoon stories, children bring to life the story characters by programming robotic kits sold by the venture
6. MySuperBrain: Discovering talents of students by conducting online sponsored talent discovery competitions and then immersing the children into the learning journey to hone those talents
7. CogniAble: Machine Learning based low cost early screening of Neuro-Developmental disorders in kids, through videos of kids performing activities based on prompts, and then treating those disorders
8. One0x: Blockchain technology to fostering seamless exchange of Learning Data Records of learners across education institutions and apps, in order to provide learning context of each learner to the next institution being attended, in order to personalize the education
9. KareerMatrix: Quantifying the skill level of college students and early employees by conducting online proctored assessments in order to create ‘LinkedIn of quantified skills’ and making it available to students/employees, institutions and employers