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Liqvid e-Learning seeks up to $10 million venture capital funding

Liqvid e-Learning seeks up to $10 million venture capital funding - Economic Times You are here: Home>Collections>Venture CapitalLiqvid e-Learning seeks up to $10 million venture capital fundingBiswarup Gooptu, ET Bureau Jan 21, 2014, 04.42AM ISTTags:venture capital funding|Liqvid e-Learning|educational software(Liqvid e-Learning is seeking…)

NEW DELHI: Educational software maker Liqvid e-Learning Services is seeking a second round of equity funding and has begun talks with a number of venture capital funds as investors show renewed interest in India's education services sector.

Liqvid, whose flagship product is the customised English language learning software EnglishEdge, is looking to raise up to $10 million (Rs 61.5 crore), and has held earlystage discussions with Matrix Partners India and Nexus Venture Partners, among others, according to people with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

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A successful deal could value the company at about $50 million (Rs 307.4 crore). The company expects to use the funding to expand into international markets, including South-East Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America as well as build its mobile business.

Vivek Agarwal, cofounder and chief executive of Liqvid declined to comment on the proposed deal.

A spokeswoman for Nexus Venture Partners said the fund had not invested in Liqvid while Matrix Partners India did not respond to email queries on the deal.

In August 2012, the Noida-based company raised $3 million (Rs 18.4 crore) from a unit of one of Japan's largest investor firms, SBI Holdings. However, it could not be ascertained if SBI Holdings, which manages assets exceeding $3 billion (Rs 18,444 crore), will participate in this latest round.

The negotiations, if successful, will see venture capital make a comeback to the country's e-learning space. Barring British media group Pearson's 100% takeover of consumer internet services firm TutorVista last year, there have been few exits from the sector for investors.

"There has been a slowdown in the space, because there have been only a few large players that have emerged. Barring TutorVista, which catered to the US market, the others have found it hard to scale," said Raja Lahiri, partner at Grant Thornton India.

Participation by venture capital in India's broader education space also took a sharp plunge in 2013 when investments dropped to $13 million (Rs 79.9 crore) compared with $77 million (Rs 473.4 crore) invested in 2012, according to research firm Venture Intelligence. "The (e-learning) companies cannot focus simply on the domestic market, because it's not big enough for them to scale up," said Lahiri.

Founded in 2002, Liqvid, which has already made a foray into US and Singapore, caters to the consumer as well as enterprise markets. It counts the various Indian Institutes of Technologies, British Council, Cairn Energy and the Essar Group among its clientele.

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