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Upskilling platform Scaler tops $700 million valuation in new funding – TechCrunch

Scaler, an edtech startup that provides professional development courses to professionals in India, has raised $55 million in a new round of funding to expand into international markets including the United States, the Bengaluru-headquartered company said on Tuesday.

The Series B funding — led by Lightrock India — values ​​the startup at $710 million about $110 million two years ago‘ Scaler said. Existing investors Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global also joined the round, raising Scaler’s all-time raise to $76.5 million.

Funding comes just a few months later scalers received a $400 million takeover bid from Indian edtech giant Unacademy, two sources familiar with the matter told me. Scaler declined to comment on the buyout talk, which was previously unreported.

The startup started its journey as InterviewBit, an edtech offering that provides students with learning resources to crack interviews. “InterviewBit has millions of users and is loved by techies,” Scaler co-founder Abhimanyu Saxena said in an interview with TechCrunch.

But the content alone is not sufficient to prepare each individual for the new job, he said. “For people who are deprived of the high learning ecosystem, it’s very difficult for them to achieve a massive learning delta just by consuming content,” he said. “At the grassroots level, the service did not help disadvantaged people.”

InterviewBit remains operational; In fact, it’s one of the most popular interview prep apps in India, but Scaler is the startup’s eponymous and branded offering today, trying to take on the broader challenge.

The startup runs nine- to eleven-month courses for cohorts of professionals. During this time, Scaler teaches these individuals subjects designed to help them acquire skills needed to land jobs and pursue new opportunities.

The startup now offers courses such as data science and machine learning. Those curricula were developed in consultation with numerous big tech employers, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Adobe, VMWare and Uber, said Saxena, who previously worked as a software architect at e-commerce startup (Anshuman Singh, Scaler’s other co-founder, helped Facebook build the messenger in its latter days.)

A Scaler course typically costs around $3,350, and individuals can either pay the fee upfront or in installments by taking out a loan from one of the non-bank financial institutions that Scaler is affiliated with.

(There is no income-sharing arrangement on Scaler. Saxena argued that the income-sharing arrangement had some aspects that put her cohort members at a disadvantage.)

On Scaler, individuals view three to four live lessons each week, complete assignments, and have access to teaching assistants and mentors to shed doubts and seek guidance. As part of Scaler’s offering, the startup also partners with companies to help its cohort members find and land better jobs. “Individuals spend three hours or more on scalers every day,” he said.

Scaler’s goal is to bridge the “massive gap that exists between what colleges and other institutions produce and what the tech industry demands,” he said. “People who join scalers have worked at companies in the past. We teach them hard skills that the Amazons and Googles of the world demand.”

Saxena said as companies start hiring around the world, Scaler India will help shift the narrative from a place that offers you engineers who can be recruited at lower wages to a hub for globally competitive, highly skilled talent.

Saxena co-founded Scaler in 2019. (Image credit: Scalers)

“The failure of legacy institutions in India’s higher education sector, particularly in IT, has opened up opportunities for professed disruptors of the status quo like scalers to push a new way of thinking that looks beyond cost arbitrage-based success,” he said.

India, home to over 250 million students, produces approximately one million engineering graduates each year. Most of these individuals are struggling to get jobs, let alone the gigs they dreamed of.

Scaler is building a learning community that is “responsible for outcomes and built for the future of work,” Divya Venkatavaraghavan, lead investor at Lightrock India, said in a statement.

To date, about 15,000 people have signed up for Scaler and about 6,000 have completed the program. “96% of people who wanted to get a new job are now working at a Tier 1 firm,” he said, adding that the startup is still collecting data for the rest of its members, working with one of the major accounting firms to do so.

More than 300 people got jobs at Amazon, he said.

The startup, which says it’s operationally profitable, plans to use the fresh funds to “experiment aggressively in new markets” where it’s expanding, he said, identifying the U.S. as one of those markets. Scaler also wants to acquire new startups, particularly in overseas markets, to fuel its expansion, he said.

“For us, the most distinctive part of [Scaler’s] Strategy is that they focus on extremely high quality computer science education delivered with their own unique approach that makes their programs practical and useful in the work environment,” said Shailendra J. Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore , in an opinion.

“This results in outstanding student NPS and exceptional job placements for scaler students. We couldn’t be more excited to join them on their journey of impacting the lives of so many high-profile computer programmers.”

Upskilling platform Scaler tops $700 million valuation in new funding – TechCrunch Source link Upskilling platform Scaler tops $700 million valuation in new funding – TechCrunch