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Hippocampus raises $600,000 bridge round from existing investors

Hippocampus raises $600,000 bridge round from existing investors - Economic Times You are here: Home>Collections>Venture CapitalHippocampus raises $600,000 bridge round from existing investorsBiswarup Gooptu, ET Bureau Jan 21, 2014, 08.44PM ISTTags:Unitus Seed Fund|TutorVista|Lok Capital|Liqvid|Learning centres|investors|hippocampus|Acumen Fund(The proceeds from the latest…)

NEW DELHI: Hippocampus Learning Centres has raised $600,000 (Rs 3.5 crore) from its existing institutional investors, the Bangalore-based rural education services provider announced late on Tuesday.

The proceeds from the latest equity investment, which is a bridge round, will be used by Hippocampus Learning Centres to expand its network, particularly in the upcoming financial year. The company currently operates more than 100 rural learning centres across Karnataka, with a student base of about 3,000, a 3X increase from the previous school yea, according to a press release.

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Hippocampus' risk capital investors include, seed-stage venture capital fund, Unitus Seed Fund, social venture capital investor, Acumen Fund, and impact investment firm Lok Capital.

"We are excited about how the Hippocampus team has built a low-cost delivery model which can be profitable at a tuition fee of approximately Rs. 250 per month. Hippocampus is part of an emerging movement in India to bring high-value, affordable services to the masses," said Dave Richards, managing partner, Unitus Seed Fund.

In 2012, the company raised $1.5 million (Rs 9.2 crore) from Lok Capital and Acumen Fund. It was also among the first three seed-stage investments made by Bangalore and Seattle-based Unitus Seed Fund in the same year.

Last year, a senior company executive said that Hippocampus was in the process of raising a fresh round of capital, estimated to be about $5 million (Rs 30.8 crore).

Founded by IIT Madras alumni and former Infosys Technologies employee Umesh Malhotra in 2011, Hippocampus provides quality learning to children in rural India through its pre-school education centres.

Hippocampus expects to expand its enrollments to more than 7,500 students this coming year, the press release stated.

"With this new capital, we will be able to push forward with our expansion plans for the 2014-15 academic year and continue to invest in preparation for further scaling up," said Malhotra, chief executive of Hippocampus Learning Centres.

Early-to-mid stage risk capital firms have once again turned their gaze on India's education service providers. On Tuesday, ET was the first to report that Noida-based LIQVID e-Learning Services had entered into talks with a clutch of venture capital firms to raise up to $10 million in funding.

Separately, investors made a handsome exit from their investment in Bangalore-based TutorVista, after it was acquired by British media Group Pearson Plc last year. However, successes have been few and far in between.

Participation by venture capital in India's broader education space also took a sharp plunge in 2013 when investments dropped to just $13 million (Rs 79.9 crore), compared with $77 million (Rs 473.4 crore) invested in 2012, according to research firm Venture Intelligence.

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