Indian-based Edtech startup gets backing from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative


Mumbai-based online learning startup Eruditus has raised $113 million in a funding round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Prosus Ventures and Leeds Illuminate Global Fund, doubling its valuation to $800 million in two years.

Its existing investor Sequoia Capital participated in the round as well. Notably, Sequoia, CZI and Naspers are all investors in Byju’s, India’s largest online learning startup.

(RtoL) Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Ashwin Damera,

Founded in 2010 by Chaitanya Kalipatnapu and Ashwin Damera, Eruditus offers management program and short courses remotely. Its subject areas include leadership and management, data science, digital transformation, banking and finance.

Eruditus maintains a tie-up with over 30 top-tier universities including MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, INSEAD, Wharton, UC Berkeley, IIT, IIM, and NUS. The universities and Eruditus work to develop courses that are aimed at offering higher education to students. These courses cost anything between $5,000 to $40,000.

There’s no shortage of startups that offer similar courses to students for free or at the price of a cup of coffee. At a conference last year, Ashwin Damera, Eruditus co-founder and chief executive of Eruditus, said his startup provides a range of additional offerings including tailored learning and tracks the outcome of the course in a student’s life.

The startup, which has offices in six countries and employs over 650 people, said it has enrolled 50,000 students in the past 12 months.

“Eruditus serves as a critical innovation partner for top universities as they expand online course offerings in response to workforce needs and market demand,” said Vivian Wu, Managing Partner, Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in a statement. “We’re excited to support the growing partnerships between U.S. universities and those in India, China and Latin America that are making truly high-quality education accessible to a broad and diverse range of students.”

Online education is among the more profitable businesses among startups, as revenues are real, parents are willing to pay for quality education and costs are mainly hiring teachers and a technology platform. Unlike other sectors, discounts or cash burn is less common.

With students forced to learn from home, education technology startups have been in the middle of a funding frenzy. Byju’s, Vedantu, Unacademy and others have raised close to a billion dollars combined this year alone.