EdTech unicorn LEAD (earlier known as Lead School) recently announced that it has raised $20 million (INR 160 crore) in a debt round co-led by Alteria Capital and Stride Ventures. The funding round also witnessed participation from Standard Chartered Bank, HDFC Bank, and ICICI Bank, marking its first debt round in 2023.
With the fresh capital, the startup plans to help finance its organic and inorganic growth ambitions, according to an official statement.
Co-founded in 2012 by Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah, LEAD enables schools to combine technology, curriculum, and pedagogy into an integrated teaching and learning system. The platform provides solutions such as digital resources, books, tech solutions, ERPs, and maths- science kits, among others. The company’s mission is to transform school education in India. Its integrated system is available in over 400 towns and cities across India, reaching over 1.2 million students and empowering over 25,000 teachers.
Speaking about the capital raised, Co-founder & CEO of LEAD, Sumeet Mehta, said in a statement:
Traditionally, startups have had limited avenues for raising capital beyond equity. However, with our strong unit economics and clear path to profitability, we have been able to attract non-dilutive, traditional capital from India’s biggest banks and largest venture debt funds, which is value accretive to our shareholders.
LEAD’s International Standard Curriculum and well-researched pedagogy ensure visible growth in student learning outcomes. Students excel not only in English skills but are also exposed to new-age skills like Coding. With robust tech-based solutions, the school can become a centre of excellent education.
Last week, the Mumbai-based startup acquired learning company Pearson’s K-12 (kindergarten through standard 12) business in India for an undisclosed amount. The firm registered a 2.3X growth in operating revenue to Rs 133.2 crore in FY22 from Rs 57 crore in FY21. As per the annual financial statement with the RoC, its losses also spiked over three folds to Rs 397 crore in FY22 in contrast to Rs 126 crore in FY21.
After joining the unicorn club in January last year, LEAD announced an employee stock ownership liquidation plan of nearly $3 million for its employees. But, in August, like many other companies in the EdTech sector, the platform laid off around 100 employees to cut costs.
Last month, LEAD raised $4.2 million in a debt round from venture debt firm Alteria Capital. Prior to that, it had raised $100 million in a Series E funding round led by WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures at a valuation of $1.1 billion in January 2022.