enguru, a live English-language learning app has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A round from institutional and individual investors including Potencia Ventures, Bisk Ventures, LetsVenture, Ronnie Screwvala and Arihant Patni.
The round also witnessed participation from existing investor Dell Foundation. This is the first direct investment in India for US-based companies - impact investment firm Potencia Ventures and early-stage venture capital firm Bisk Ventures.
According to the official statement, the funds raised will be used to scale up the live class offering, including the launch of a new enguru kids app focused on conversational and reading classes for children from the ages of 6 to 16.
These include the launch of personalised reading programmes in partnership with Penguin Random House and the Upskill from Cambridge English Assessment created in partnership with Cambridge English.
Focusing on English speaking, enguru uses a combination of self-learning modules as well as live classes for English learning users. enguru teaches English in regional languages, all the way from the basics to more complex job-specific functional English.
The idea is to provide affordable employability focused English language & communication skills training through innovative technology products and then helping link English speaking levels to appropriate job opportunities. enguru will also build on a range of new complementary offerings.
Established in 2014 by Arshan Vakil, Tahem Veer Verma and Udit Hinduja, the Bengaluru-based enguru provides live English classes for young adults and children through their Android apps.
Talking about the development, Founder and CEO of enguru, Arshan Vakil said,
"We are very excited to have Potencia, Bisk, LetsVenture, Ronnie Screwvala, and Arihant Patni join us in our journey to make high-quality English training affordable and accessible across India. English is a prerequisite for most jobs in the service industry and young Indians are very often at an unfair disadvantage due to a lack of access to effective training. enguru’s live classes give learners a platform to practice speaking in English through an unlimited subscription model."
He further added in his comment, "It’s been tremendous to see our learners spending over 90 minutes a day over a sustained period of time. With these funds, we aim to bolster the technology in our live classes to facilitate peer to peer interactions more efficiently. We are also building complementary offerings to help our user’s boost their employability starting with the launch of an AI-based English Assessment called Upskill from Cambridge in collaboration with Cambridge English.”
The app currently has over 200,000 monthly live class sessions with more than 18,000 classes and 200+ teachers. It offers industry-specific English courses in over 12 different vernacular languages & has a focus on speaking through AI-enabled stimulated conversations.
enguru was started with a mission to ensure that access to English language training does not become an impediment to career opportunities.
The platform makes learning easier as it starts teaching the users right from the basics up to more complex conversations. Users go through a placement test when they first use the app, which identifies their starting point. This test includes a combination of English proficiency and general preference questions including reasons for learning English and career aspirations etc.
Patrick Maloney, Investment Advisor of Potencia Ventures has said,
"The enguru team has a deep understanding of the need for functional English training for aspiring youth in India. Their offering is tailor-made for this requirement and the initial data indicates that they are onto something. We are excited to partner with them."
In September 2017, the company had raised $2.5 million led by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Village Capital and Mr Weihua Yan.