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Leverage Edu raises $22m, now valued at $120m

Leverage Edu has raised $22 million in Series B funding, bringing its overall value to around $120m, the study abroad platform has announced.

Establised in 2017 by Akshay Chaturvedi, Leverage Edu’s core mission is to "help universities in the developed world, bring onboard students from the emerging world". Photo: Leverage Edu

Earlier in 2022, Leverage Edu announced its foray into financial services

The new backing will allow Leverage Edu to expand into new markets and drive its financial services offer, which one of its investors has said is a “multi-billion dollar opportunity” for the company.

The platform has opened offices in UK and more recently in Australia. Following an expansion into Nigeria in late 2021, it now classifies the African country – along with India – as its core student source markets. Leverage Edu added that the recent fundraise will allow it to launch in other markets.

It also launched the “Study Abroad with LeverageEdu” app in 2022, which it highlighted has already been downloaded to over 50,000 devices.

“We have grown over 12x in revenue between February 2021 and 2022, and are at a $20m annualised revenue crossed milestone now,” founder and CEO Akshay Chaturvedi said.

Kaizen Private Equity – one of a number of consortium of funds, family offices and individual angels contributing to the investment – indicated that Leverage Edu “checks the boxes” of its education framework of access, quality and relevance.

“We have been looking at various companies in the overseas student mobility space”

“We have been looking at various companies in the overseas student mobility space and are happy to have partnered with LeverageEdu, a company with the right product positioning, traction and stage to work together with on the growth journey,” Kaizen Private Equity’s Gaurav Jain said.

“The end-to-end financing piece of LeverageEdu, which I believe is still in pilot, is a game changer,” Anirudh Damani, managing partner at Artha Ventures, added.

“While solving a massive problem for students and parents, the financial services is in itself a multi-billion dollar opportunity for Leverage Edu and the initial traction has been beyond our wildest expectations!”

Earlier in 2022, Leverage Edu announced its foray into financial services and is awaiting an FFMC license from Reserve Bank of India. That will “further bolster” Leverage Edu’s foreign remittance business, the company noted.

While the company doesn’t give out loans on its own balance sheet, it has been growing fast as it aims to hit a Rs500 Cr (circa $65m) loan book by late 2022, it added.

“The market is massive, but needs to be dealt with a lot more caution on all sides,” Chaturvedi noted.

“Students have their careers at stake, and at the same time, universities are very particular about the quality of students they bring in. Hence, it’s important to balance this out, and play full stack on both the sides.

“We have hence built a powerful loved brand and community on the student side, and at the same time, are the only player to have won the trust of 400+ universities in such a short timeframe, the largest university-relationships pool among any company from this decade.”

“We have hence built a powerful loved brand and community on the student side”

The Leverage Edu team has been able to increase its revenue growth while cutting customer acquisition cost by two-thirds, with over 20% of business now coming from referrals, he continued.

“Another 35% [comes] from a bunch of slick product-channels like virtual fair platform UniConnect, IELTS-prep product Leverage Live, the uber-popular AI Course Finder, and a growing double digit from our organic traffic,” Chaturvedi said.

“[Our organic traffic] is now the largest in the world for the category at 30m last year and an expected 100m+ this year.”

“I invest in entrepreneurs: their integrity, positive and abundant energy and ability to have an open mind and adapt,” Aditi Kothari, vice chairperson of DSP Mutual Fund, said.

“I saw this in Akshay in addition to of course the vast opportunity in the area in which he is playing and is a sizeable player. I am excited to help as we build this out to market domination.”

Other investors included UAE-based NB Ventures, 9Unicorns, Chona Group (behind Havmor), FMCG player Vicco, Mankind Pharma, Trifecta Ventures & Bennett Coleman (Times Group); returning funds Blume Ventures, DSG Consumer Partners, Tomorrow Capital.

Individual investors include: Morgan Stanley MD Hemant Gupta; CRED founder Kunal Shah; BookMyShow founder Ashish Hemrajani; True North Partner Haresh Chawla; Lenskart founder Peyush Bansal; ShareChat founder Farid Ahsan; Hotcourses (sold to IDP) founder Mark O’Donoghue; Skyflow’s Anshu Sharma; Eragon Ventures MD Pranabh Mody; Dynamic IT Director Henry Kane; Jio President Vikas Choudhary; entrepreneur-author Ankur Warikoo; OYO SEA CEO Ankit Tandon, among others.

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