Despite the recent boom in consumer-focused educational learning platforms in India, the vast majority of students in the South Asian country remain unattended. Existing B2C offerings are expensive for most students and are heavily targeted at those in high school preparing for competitive exams.
LEAD School, a nine-year-old startup, is addressing this disconnect by leveraging an infrastructure that already has a wide reach in the country: schools. And the model is working.
WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures, an existing sponsor, said on Thursday that they led the Lead School Series E funding. The new funding round, which brings LEAD School’s all-time increase to $169 million, values the startup at $1.1 billion.
LEAD School, founded by couple Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah, works with thousands of K-12 schools (most of which serve low-income families; LEAD estimates it will have more than 5,000 schools by April, when the new session begins), where they integrated their platform that helps them protect books and other resources from vendors, eliminating middlemen and bringing quality assurance.
But more importantly, and why the couple started LEAD School in the first place, the startup helps teachers design the curriculum and find ways to better convey concepts to students and assess learning outcomes.
The platform now serves 2 million students, with whom the startup works closely to understand areas in which they need improvement. LEAD School has found that the biggest challenge most students face is understanding English, a factor that also affects how they understand most other subjects.
Focusing on clarifying the fundamentals with priority helped students at institutions with LEAD School technology achieve more than 70% mastery in all subjects, Deorah said in an interview with Ploonge.
“Typically for a school that partners with LEAD, this raises student learning outcomes by 20-25%,” she said.
“The quality of LEAD education is already revolutionizing the way Indian students are taught at scale,” said Rohan Malhotra, managing partner at Good Capital, a venture capital firm that is an early sponsor of the startup.
More to follow soon.