Edtech start-up Uolo has raised $22.5 million in a Series A funding round led by UAE-headquartered venture capital fund Winter Capital. Its existing investor Blume Ventures, which had previously led a $3 million seed funding into the company in 2020, also participated in the round along with Dubai-based fund Morphosis Venture Capital, the start-up said on Friday.
Mumbai-based Uolo offers affordable parent-teacher communication software and an ERP management solution to private schools. On top of these solutions, it partners with private schools to help them develop online capabilities and offers them learning programs, which are aligned with the school curriculums. Uolo’s open architecture platform allows third party education publishers and new-age content creators to develop physical learning programs for K-12 schools and students. These programs usually come with a book, which the teacher uses during classes, as well as digital activities for students to complete at home. Students use a parent or guardian’s smartphone at home to complement their in-school learning.
The company offers learning programs in coding and English speaking, aligned with the partner school’s computer science and English curriculums respectively. Uolo plans to introduce more programs across STEAM subjects in the coming months.
“The truth is that, after a few hours of play, rest and mandatory school homework, K-12 students do not have much time left. The edtech solutions need to build on top of 6 hours spent in school daily and magnify the outcomes by leveraging the smartphones available at home. The lack of alignment with school, together with exorbitant pricing is causing edtech companies to falter,” Pallav Pandey, CEO of Uolo, said.
The company has claimed to have partnered with more than 8,500 schools across India and currently reaches over 3.7 million students.
“The first wave of edtech companies in India has proven consumer interest in online education. However, they lacked a cost-effective distribution. We believe that there will be a new generation of edtech companies capable of building organic, low-cost distribution, allowing students to study at $10 per year rather than $10 per hour. Our investment in Uolo is based on our confidence in this type of company,” said Anton Farlenkov, Managing Director of Winter Capital.
Edtech has been under the scanner lately for being the worst hit sector in terms of start-up layoffs. The sector has also seen shifts in business models, rampant cost-cutting exercises, and total shutdowns. Cumulatively, 11 edtech start-ups, including market leaders Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, have laid off over 6,500 employees this year, as per Tracxn findings. The latest in the series is Vedantu, which is in the process of sacking about 385 employees and enforcing a 50 per cent pay cut for leadership team including founders. Start-ups like Lido Learning, Udayy, Crejo.Fun, SuperLearn, etc., have wound up operations and Amazon has announced that it is shutting down its online learning vertical, Amazon Academy, in India.
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