Scaler (by InterviewBit), one of the fastest-growing tech upskilling startups, today announced the successful completion of Series B funding of $55 million led by new investor Lightrock India along with two existing investors, Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global. With this fresh round of funding, the total capital raised by Scaler Academy since January 2020 stands at $76.5 million with a valuation of $710 million.
The entry of Lightrock India into the Scaler family as a new strategic partner will help accelerate the brand's ambition to disrupt India's formal higher education sector, comprising universities and colleges that are unable to meet the growing demand for the new kind of skilled workforce for the country's $200 billion IT sector. The fresh round of funding will also allow Scaler to aggressively pursue its international expansion plans, launch new product offerings/business verticals, make strategic acquisitions, invest in best-in-class talent, and grow its customer base in India and globally.
Welcoming Lightrock India into the Scaler fold, Abhimanyu Saxena, Co-Founder, Scaler & InterviewBit, said. "We were humbled by the strong interest shown by the global investing community who want to be part of Scaler's future and play a significant role in shaping India's technology skill space. We decided to go with Lightrock India and our existing investors (Sequoia Capital India & Tiger Global), who share our vision of what we are trying to do at Scaler. The failure of legacy institutions in India's higher education sector, particularly in the IT space, has opened up opportunities for avowed status-quo disruptors like Scaler to push a new kind of thinking that looks beyond cost arbitrage-based success. Technologies like machine learning and data science will create a new kind of India powered by communication technologies like 5G that will have a far-reaching impact on the country's socio-economic status. We are creating the skilling ecosystem that will ensure that we succeed by creating a future-ready India."
The higher education ecosystem is fragmented and deeply broken. Today, we have an acutely inequitable ecosystem where the top 15% of colleges drive millions to attempt an array of entrance examinations, whilst the bottom 85% have limited accountability. On top of that, the top 15% cater to those who can afford $11,000 or more, further restricting the country's ability to build a robust talent pipeline for the future. Therefore, higher education must shift from learning to skilling, from poor accountability to employability and from physical communities to digital tribes.
Divya Venkatavaraghavan, Principal Investor, Lightrock India, said, "The team at Scaler Academy (& InterviewBit) are transforming higher education in India by democratising the privilege of working in technology for millions of Indians. They are building a learning community that is accountable for outcomes and designed for the future of work. We are privileged to partner with them on this exceptional journey as they help unlock the demographic dividend of India."
Shailendra J. Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital (India) Singapore, said, "We have been fortunate to work closely with Anshuman and Abhimanyu since the launch of Scaler Academy. To us, the most distinctive part of their strategy is that they are super focused on extremely high-quality computer science education, delivered with their own unique approach that makes their programs practical and useful in the work environment. This is resulting in outstanding student NPS and exceptional job placements for Scaler students. We couldn’t be more excited to journey together with them to impact the lives of so many high potential computer programmers."
John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global, said, "As an experienced investor in India's startup ecosystem, we are particularly bullish about the country's edtech companies. Scaler's relatively young age (since April 2019) is more than made up for by the vision and maturity of its founders and the 800-plus-member team that is on a mission to disrupt India's tech education space. We could not be more excited to double down on our investment in Scaler and continue to support the team."
Scaler's success in the last two and half years is highlighted by the fact that nearly 7 out of every 10 startup unicorns in India now has a Scaler alumni. "We have over 380+ alumni in just these 9 companies alone - Microsoft, Google, Uber, Amazon, Paypal, Adobe, VMWare, Intuit, Mcafee. The cumulative annual salary of Scaler graduates is more than Rs 600 crore as of today. If you factor in our expenses on teaching and infra, Scaler enables the addition of more than $100 million into India's economy every year. Our next goal will be enabling the addition of a billion USD to India's GDP annually," added Saxena.
The largest tech giants in the world are headed by Indian-origin CEOs. India has evolved from being the de-facto outsourcing and back-office hub of the world to emerging as the proverbial melting pot for churning out the finest tech talent. And yet, for far too long, poor employability has plagued India's employers – for, e.g. less than 1.5% of engineering students from IT branches can correctly compile code. Employability for mechanical and civil engineers was ~6%, while it was as low as 1.7% for chemical engineering. In light of this, Scaler's full-stack learning platform is truly democratising privilege by creating an online, socially woven community of tech talent, engaged through constant skilling and retained through career advancement.