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India’s edtech startup CollegeDekho raises $8 million to connect students with colleges – TechCrunch

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Indian edtech startup CollegeDekho, which helps students connect with prospective colleges and keep track of exams, has raised $8 million in Series B round.

The new financing round for the four-year-old Gurgaon-based startup was led by its parent company Girnarsoft Education and London-based private equity investor Man Capital, which also participated in the startup’s Series A round last year.

Ruchir Arora, founder and CEO of CollegeDekho told TechCrunch in an interview that the startup will use the capital to expand its presence in more schools and also begin connecting students with international educational institutions. The startup, which has raised $13 million to date, will also ramp up its research and development efforts.

CollegeDekho, hindi for search for college, maintains a website that helps students identify the right career choices for them. The website has a chatbot that answers some of the questions students have while logging their responses and other website activities such as the kind of colleges they are searching for on the platform, their preferred location and budget.

Arora said the startup, which also has about 3,000 call centre representatives and counsellors, builds profiles of students to make college recommendations. He said each month the site observes more than five million sessions from students. Last year, more than 8,000 students used CollegeDekho to take admission in a college.

Parents in India, a country of 1.3 billion people with not the best literacy record, see education as an upward mobility for their children. Each year, more than six to seven million students go to a college. But because of a range of factors that can include cultural stigma, many students end up choosing wrong path and thus don’t excel in college. Indeed, many students ultimately don’t pursue the subject they are best suited for, Arora said, and that’s where CollegeDekho aims to make an impact.

Most high school students in India often gravitate toward engineering or medical college, as a result of which, each year India produces many engineers and doctors who struggle for years to find a job. Arora said his startup looks at more than 2,000 career paths a student could pursue.

What works in favor of Arora is that the country will continue to turn out millions of students each year who will be looking to go to a college soon. It also helps that CollegeDekho is operationally profitable, Arora said, adding that it generates about $3.2 million in revenue in a year. Any additional cash that the startup raises will go into its expansion, he said.

CollegeDekho charges a nominal fee from students, and also takes a cut when they join a college. More than 36,000 educational institutes are listed on CollegeDekho. The startup also works with more than 400 colleges to conduct an exam for direct admission, and there too it earns a cut.

India’s education market, estimated to be grow to $5.7 billion by next year, has emerged as a lucrative opportunity for startups and VCs alike. Bangalore-based Byju’s, which helps millions of students in India prepare for competitive exams, raised $540 million from Naspers and others late last year. Unacademy, which like Byju’s offers online tutoring to students, has raised more than $38.5 million to date.

A legion of other education startups today are vying for the attention of students in the nation. Noida-based AskIITians, not much far from the offices of CollegeDekho, aims to help school-going students prepare for medical and engineering exams. Extramarks, also based in Noida, operates in the same space as AskIITians. Reliance Industries, owned and controlled by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, bought 38.5 percent stake in the startup three years ago.

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Corellium iOS virtualization tool now available to individuals

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While leaks of Apple’s next hardware products have become more common and more easy-flowing, its software remains closely guarded secrets kept behind locked doors. This security by obscurity strategy has worked in Apple’s favor in keeping some malicious actors out but has also thwarted attempts by third-party security researchers to help improve the software. At least that’s the goal that Corellium has with its contested iOS virtualization tool that it is now making available even to individual customers.

Unlike some other operating systems, Apple has made it virtually impossible for iOS to run on any device other than Apple’s, including using virtualization technology to run iOS on a powerful desktop computer. Virtualization, however, is seen by some security researchers, like the folks behind Corellium, as key to testing and investigating iOS’ security with the goal of helping Apple improve the platform, not to weaken it.

For that purpose, Corellium developed support for virtual iOS devices to run on its CORSEC security research platform. It’s also for that reason that Apple sued it on grounds of copyright infringement. Surprisingly, Apple lost that battle, though it still has a few cards to play. In the meantime, it seems that Corellium is using that victory to push forward with its new commercial offering.

Previously available only to enterprise subscribers, Corellium is now opening the doors to its virtual iOS devices to individual subscribers. The purpose remains the same but, this time, the company is probably hoping that lone white hat hackers will also be encouraged to try out their tool instead of some cracking or jailbreaking tool from the hacking community or, worse, the dark corners of the Web.

That, however, doesn’t mean that just about anyone can grab the tool, not that everyone would be able to afford it. Now that it is opening the virtual iOS option to individual subscribers, Corellium is now requiring even individuals to request an account and go through their vetting process to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

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Facebook News expands to the UK

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While many people probably take to Google to search for the latest news, social media has been playing a bigger role in bringing news, both real and fake, to even more people. Of course, this has also brought them under more scrutiny because of the consequences for the news industry in general, particularly when page views, ads, and profits are concerned. Facebook seems to suggest that it is offering the better option for all parties involved as it rolls out Facebook News outside the US for the first time.

In a nutshell, Facebook News is a relatively new section in its app that is, well, all about news. Instead of a simple list of search results, it offers a serving of daily Top Stories curated by humans and News Sections that invite users to dig deeper into topics. Of course, there’s also the promise of complete control as well as personalization options on what users want or do not want to follow.

The features of Facebook News almost comes second to what the social networking giant is really proud of, striking business deals with news outlets and publishers in the UK. In addition to its existing partners like The Guardian, The Economist, and The Independent, among others, Facebook has also added Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, and Financial Times to its roster, among others.

Facebook wants to remind everyone that it has been partnering with news organizations for many years and has been trying to work out a sustainable business model in the age of the Internet. In fact, this infusion from Facebook is expected to boost the local news industry, especially during these trying times. Facebook even says it is continuing not only to invest more in news but also to pay publishers for more content in more countries.

This almost sounds like a subtle jab at Google’s current situation regarding its own news offering in other countries, particularly in the European Union, which the UK is no longer part of, and Australia. Google has recently agreed to pay news publishers in France but has threatened to makes Google News unavailable in Australia should the government regulatory body push its demands.

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Samsung Exynos with AMD GPU claimed to beat Apple A12 Bionic

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Samsung’s Exynos has been the subject of much controversy and drama in the past months, especially as its performance gap with Qualcomm’s equivalent Snapdragon chips became more prominent. The company’s semiconductor business has been trying to turn that ship around quickly, especially with a favorable outlook for the new Exynos 2100. That said, the real highlight might still be coming later this year, especially if the combined powers of Samsung and AMD are indeed able to run circles around Apple’s 2019 A12 Bionic chip.

Of course, it’s extremely early to jump to such conclusions, especially with equally early, unverified leaks. Samsung was planning to launch the Exynos chip with AMD graphics next year but the company has allegedly decided to move up the schedule to sometime later this year. That may explain why the chip is already being tested on benchmarking suites, presuming it is the real deal.

Chinese site ITHome says that the GFXBench scores were seen on a Korean forum, making it a hearsay of a hearsay. It pits the still-unnamed Exynos chip with the Apple A12 Bionic used in the 2019 iPhone XS generation. If true, the results are definitely impressive.

The graphics benchmark scores show the in-development Exynos performing almost two times better than the Apple A12 Bionic, at least when taking frame rates into account. There are other GPU benchmarks on mobile, of course, and also other factors to consider before giving the Exynos the graphics crown.

It also bears noting that the Apple chip being compared with is already two generations old. A mobile processor’s overall performance also doesn’t depend solely on CPU or GPU but a combination of both, and two parts coming from different companies could have some growing pains at least in the first iteration.

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