Ex-Bankers’ Study-Abroad Startup Nears $1 Billion Unicorn Status
Leap raises $75 million from investors including Owl Ventures. Startup helps Indian students enter learning programs abroad.
(Bloomberg) -- Outleap Technologies Pvt., a startup that helps Indians study abroad, raised $75 million at a valuation of almost $1 billion as demand for overseas learning returns following the pandemic.
Owl Ventures led the round, with Steadview Capital and Paramark Ventures as well as existing investors Jungle Ventures and Sequoia Capital India participating, the company, known by its brand name Leap, said Wednesday in a statement. Its valuation has doubled since a September fundraising and is nearing $1 billion, co-founder Vaibhav Singh, 37, said in a video interview.
Students from the country of 1.4 billion people are entering overseas programs at an unprecedented rate, even after the Covid outbreak temporarily weighed on demand, Singh said. Leap offers help with preparations for exams like TOEFL and SAT, assistance with visas, loans, international bank accounts and credit cards, as well as counseling to students targeting particular countries or universities.
A record number of students from India traveled abroad to study last year, mainly to the US, Canada, the UK and Australia, Singh said. “2022 is going to break the 2021 record and we’ll keep setting new highs for many many years to come,” he said.
While education has always been a priority for Indian families, Leap is benefiting as demand for overseas study spreads beyond the country’s large cities, the co-founder said. “Education is not cyclical, motivation among families to do the best for the kids is high and 70% of our flow is from outside the 10 big Indian cities,” Singh said.
Leap was founded in 2019 by Singh and Arnav Kumar, who studied together at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and worked at Deutsche Bank AG. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and has the bulk of its operations in Bangalore and Mumbai. It helped about 60,000 students travel overseas in 2021, its first full year of operation, and plans to triple the number to 175,000 this year.
“The demand is overwhelming,” Singh said. “The largest edtech businesses will be built out of India as technology helps startups improve access, quality and global distribution.”
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.