NEW DELHI, July 17
CoolAcads.com, the city-based education portal, has initiated talks with several angel funds and venture capitalists in the hope to raise Rs 5 crore to fund its second round of expansion. According to Sahad P V, co-founder CoolAcads.com, "Apart from some ongoing talks with a couple of angel investors to meet our funding requirements for the immediate future, we plan to talk to venture capitalists like the UB group, which have expressed an interest in incubating online education sites."
CoolAcads.com, which had a soft launch last week, is the latest education-oriented site on the web. The site was launched on 12 July, 2000 by Delhi-based Greymatter Internet Ventures, and claims to be India's first student-only e-commerce and education portal.
With a target audience of Class X and above, CoolAcads enters a race where fund-rich players like egurucool - which has just completed its second round of funding to the tune of Rs 45 crore - have a headstart.
So how does one ensure differentiation? Replies Sanjiv Rana, co-founder CoolAcads, "Our competitors seem to want to cater to students right from the primary years onto the corridors of university, which is a difficult task as every strata has different needs. On the other hand, we are focused in targeting high school and college students with a priority on careers. So if we are able to manage funding in the next couple of months, we are confident of closing down the gap."
Over the next three months, the site will diversify its student-only e-business into products like computers, software and magazines. For this, the company is initiating talks with manufacturers like Apple, HP, Wipro and HCL to retail their hardware at a discount.
CoolAcads also plans to tie-up with firms like Microsoft and Adobe to sell their software, and with publications like India Today, Outlook and The Economist to sell special discounted subscriptions.
Also to be functional soon is an online tutorials section for various entrance examinations, for which the management is already in talks with offline educators for content and module preparation.
The technical team is currently looking towards value-added online education by developing online learning tools and testing methods.
"In a nutshell," says Sahad, "we are looking at ourselves being one of the largest players in private education - whether online or offline. To do this, one of our plans is to take a stake in or acquire offline institutes offering coaching for engineering, medicine and IAS. This will give us a control over the content. Besides we will be able to deliver education through a combination of online and offline media."
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CoolAcads to raise Rs 5 cr to fund expansions