Leap, India’s leading overseas education platform, which runs www.leapfinance.com and www.leapscholar.com, has raised a $17 million (INR 120 crores) Series B in a new round of equity financing. The round was led by Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, with participation from Sequoia Capital India and Owl Ventures – the world’s largest ed-tech focussed VC fund. This comes in less than a year after Leap raised $5.5 million led by Sequoia Capital India, taking the total capital raised by the startup to $22.5 million.
Leap is building a one-stop platform for study abroad aspirants and international students. It will use the new capital to expand its product portfolio. It plans to further strengthen its team across technology & business functions, expand geographically and grow its student communities aggressively. The company will also establish global offices for institutional partnerships and other business functions.
Arnav Kumar, co-founder of Leap shared – “We are a one stop solution for everything that a study abroad aspirant needs. India has the largest pool of STEM educated English speaking graduates and millions of them want global degrees and careers. This is a big decision and there is a real need for accurate information and expert guidance. Our online community helps students evaluate career options, network with seniors and shortlist the best courses. We then use this data to offer personalised test prep, professional counselling services, visa guidance and financial products.”
Leap’s community of study abroad aspirants has grown to 500,000+ profiled members with 200,000 monthly active users who exchanged 9 million chat messages last month.
Leap launched in 2019 with its international education loan product – offering zero collateral, full cost of study, dollar loans to Indian students pursuing international education in the US. Leap has since expanded the product suite and also expanded to Canada, UK and Australia.
Vaibhav Singh, co-founder of Leap, said “Our mission is to make global education and careers more accessible to meritorious Indian students. We are unlocking access to financial products and career services which international students are traditionally locked out of. You can think of us as a neobank offering tailored products to the international student community.”
Leap’s education loans are significantly cheaper than existing market alternatives. Leap also offers an international bank account which is a first of its kind – students get a working US bank account and debit card while in India, with zero charges and the lowest forex rates.
Leap is shortly launching a credit card tailored to the needs of international students. Commenting on the announcement, Amit Anand, Founding Partner, Jungle Ventures said, “Leap marks our first investment in the edu-tech space. India is the second-largest market globally for overseas enrolment, and in just a decade overseas higher education annual enrolments from India are up more than 300%. In addition, South East Asian markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia are also large contributors to overseas education. This presents a huge opportunity in an otherwise fragmented landscape. Leap is addressing this huge opportunity through its end-to-end tech platform and a community-first approach. We are proud to partner with Vaibhav and Arnav in their growth journey as they become the default destination for outbound students pursuing international education.”
Leap has helped over 20,000 students in their study abroad journey in the past year and aims to serve 150,000 students in the current year
“2020 was a tough year for international education with Covid related travel restrictions. We are impressed by the resilience of the Leap team during the last year, where not only have they served hundreds of students with their financing solutions but have also expanded with Leap Scholar providing counselling to thousands of Indian students looking to study abroad. This vertically integrated strategy has materially strengthened the moats for Leap. Sequoia Capital India partnered with Leap pre-launch and is thrilled to deepen the commitment.” said Ashish Agrawal, Principal, Sequoia Capital India
Amit Patel, Managing Director of Owl Ventures, said, “There is a clear need for a one-stop, global student mobility platform – right now the value chain is fragmented and a student has to interact with several entities in their study abroad journey. Leap’s solution ties it all together. We are excited to partner with them as they unlock value in this fast-growing segment.”