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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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Sotheby’s first NFT auction revealed

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An art auction is set to take place in June of 2021 called “Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale.” This sale will be hosted by Sotheby’s, and it’ll take place entirely online. Sotheby’s started their description of this sale with the following: “NFTs will be considered one of the groundbreaking artistic breakthroughs of the century.”

This NFT auction at Sotheby’s will be co-curated by Sotheby’s and Robert Alice. The show will be “An artist-led survey of the many strands that comprise this emerging cultural ecosystem.”

SEE TOO: What is NFT? A simple explanation for the crypto newb

This showing will include NFT creations across time and space, from “some of the earliest” NFTs built raw, before Ethereum chains took hold of the platform. It’ll also include “newer, complex NFTs that showcase the cutting edge technical innovation.” Artists in the show include creators from four different continents.

Categories for NFT include:
• Early NFTs
• Digital Pop/Futurists
• Generative
• Conceptual
• Emerging NFT Artists
• Community-elected

The show will take place between June 3, 2021, and June 10, 2021, all online at Sothebys.com. The show will be revealed in parts, starting with the three works you see (in preview) above.

The first three NFT shown are The Shell Record by Anna Ridler, CryptoPunk #7523 by Larva Labs, and Quantum by Kevin McCoy. More works will be revealed for this show in the coming weeks. UPDATE: More works will be posted to the Natively Digital digital catalogue as we reach the date where bidding will begin.

It’s likely Sotheby’s will allow (and perhaps require) works to be purchased with cryptocurrency. The first ever Sotheby’s physical artwork with the potential to be purchased with cryptocurrency was also just sold. As you might have already guessed, it was a Banksy. Sotheby’s allowed the transaction to take place with bitcoin or ethereum cryptocurrency should the winner of the auction choose to purchase the work as such.

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Beats design at Apple now lead by Android hardware legend

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Apple appears to have pinpointed one of the most influential Android hardware designers of the last decade in Scott Croyle. This guy was the head of HTC’s design team when they created the HTC One M7 – he was also a founder of the company Nextbit, creators of the Nextbit Robin. A report this week details the timing and details surrounding the designer’s joining Apple.

Below you’ll see the Nextbit Robin and an HTC One M7 (originally just called HTC One). These devices remain memorable pieces of hardware design even here, nearly a decade later. Now Croyle, one of the main keys behind this hardware design, is working with Apple.

FUN FACT: The HTC One (whose design team was led by Croyle), came with Beats Audio branding. This phone was released in early 2013, when HTC still owned stock in Beats. HTC sold their last shares of Beats by September of 2013. In the year 2014, Apple acquired Beats.

According to 9to5Mac, Scott Croyle “joined Apple last year specifically to oversee Beats product design.” It’s reported that Apple will continue to have the design firm Ammunition “create the look of Beats hardware products and company identity” while Croyle acts as “point person” between Beats and the design company.

It’s very likely that details like this appearing mean that we’ll see new Beats products in the very near future. The fact that Croyle is working with Apple specifically on Beats is a talking point that’s perfect for starting a fire in the minds of the public. We’re now reminded that Apple owns Beats, and Beats hasn’t released a brand new product for quite some time.

It’s likely there’ll be a new pair of Beats headphones in the near future, and it would not be shocking to find a new wireless speaker appearing soon, too. The Beats brand remains solid. The public still knows the logo, and it’s quite likely Apple will capitalize on the hype that will inevitably come with the release of a new Beats product before the end of the year 2021.

What sort of Beats brand hardware do you expect Apple will release next? Will it just be another pair of headphones with a slightly different shape from what’s come before, updated with Apple’s latest wireless chip tech? Or will it be something truly new?

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Razor releasing new electric RipStik and their “SUV” of scooters

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There’s a new electric movement machine in the mix this week from the folks at Razor. It has a long name: “The New RipStik Rush, the electric RipStik 2.0,” and it’s the second RipStik produced by Razor. There are other official RipStik products out with Razor, but only one other original electric RipStik. It’s “official” because Razor is the only one who holds the patent for Caster Boards as such.

This machine works with “enhanced RipStik technology” that’ll allow the back end of the board to move back and forth to “fishtail, carve, and drift like a snowboard.” This newest version works with an electric hub motor that allows the rider to roll at up to 10mph (16 km/h). The rider of this particular electric RipStik will be able to push forth with a remote control, as shown in the imagery above and below.

The New RipStik Rush, the electric RipStik 2.0, will be released for a suggested retail price of $249 USD. This device is recommended for “anyone age 9+” and will be available for sale “soon.”

Razor also announced that they’ll be making the Razor C25 electric scooter available this summer. Per Razor, the C25 is like the “SUV” of the Razor line-up. They’ve suggested that this scooter delivers “a comfortable, rugged ride that can easily navigate any surface.”

The Razor C25 has the ability to go 15.5 miles per battery charge and can move at a speed of up to 18 miles per hour. There’s a 250W rear brushless hub motor in this vehicle and a 36V lithium icon battery inside. The whole machine weighs in at 32.5 lbs. The Razor C25 will be released for sale in July of 2021.

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