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Exclusive: Sixth Sense Ventures’ 2nd local fund closes debut deal

March 19, 2018

Sixth Sense Ventures’ second domestic fund has made its first investment, a top executive of the consumer-focused venture capital firm told VCCircle.
Founder and chief executive Nikhil Vora said his firm has backed Delhi- based Eupheus Learning, which develops textbooks and their digitised versions to integrate class and home learning.
Sixth Sense has picked up a significant minority stake in the company, said Vora, not disclosing the investment amount. He added that he has joined the board of Eupheus as part of the transaction.
Commenting on the investment, Vora said, “We like the edu-tech space as it offers perpetual demand. We like Eupheus because of its strong and experienced promoter backing and it being the only unique player to have seamlessly integrated class-learning and home-learning solutions.”
Eupheus, operated by Proficiency Learning Solutions Pvt. Ltd, claims to have presence in over 1,500 schools. The clientele list includes Narayana Group of Educational Institutions, GD Goenka Group, and Delhi Public School Society.
Eupheus currently offers textbooks in 10 subjects (English, maths, general knowledge, environmental science, and others) for students of classes one to eight. It offers the same textual content in digitised version. The ed-tech firm seeks to develop its offerings in terms of subjects and classes both.
The services are offered on a subscription basis, and the solutions can be bought in a bundle or as standalone units.
“We have a readiness of will for learning solutions and with Sixth Sense this shall get further sharpened for curated solutions, which shall serve the fundamental needs of Indian K-12 space (kindergarten to class 12),” said Sarveshwar Shrivastava, co-founder of Eupheus.
The company has in the recent past partnered several global institutions to bolster its presence in the K-12 learning space, such as World Book Inc., RoboGarden Inc., Sanako, Fiction Express and Primo Toys.

Eupheus founders
Around 40 people, including the founders, Shrivastava, Rohit Dhar, Ved Prakash Khatri and Amit Kapoor, moved out of global education company Encyclopaedia Britannica and invested out of their pockets to launch the venture, Eupheus, in June 2017.
Shrivastava, a graduate of University of Illinois, had worked with General Electric, Corning, Telecom Australia, NIIT, Pearson and Encyclopaedia Britannica before launching the venture.
Dhar started his career as a teacher after completing his post-graduation in 1988 and was Shrivastava’s colleague in Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Khatri has over two decades of experience as sales executive in the K-12 publishing industry space. He has been associated with publications such as Ratna Sagar and Oxford in the past.
And Kapoor, a graduate of TA Pai Management Institute, earlier held the position of director, digital sales, at Encyclopaedia Britannica South Asia.

Sixth Sense’s new fund
The second fund, which has a target corpus of Rs 350 crore ($54 million), was supposed to mark the first close by the month-end.
However, Vora said that the fund size may increase as talks with a few foreign investors were on.
The firm, which is planning to deploy money in 12-15 companies from the new fund, will maintain its consumer-focused theme.
Sixth Sense had a target corpus of Rs 125 crore for its first fund and had backed 10 companies, including gaming arcade operator Smaaash Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, Hindustan Foods Ltd, PepsiCo Inc’s Kurkure snack brand, JHS Svendgaard Laboratories Pvt. Ltd and hyperlocal logistics service provider Grab.
Nearly 50 investors, including family offices and high net-worth individuals, besides Small Industries Development Bank of India, had come in as limited partners for the first fund. Vora said that the fund has started giving returns to investors.

Vora’s investments
Vora was recently reported to be investing in his personal capacity in Gujarat-based Advance Syntex Ltd, that makes glitter powder and polyester film. He was an early investor in One97 Communications Ltd, the parent of digital wallet firm Paytm. He sold his stake in One97 to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in May last year, reaping almost 75-fold gains.
Around the same time, Vora also exited his investment in Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd, when the operator of pre-schools and K-12 schools was acquired by EuroKids International Pvt. Ltd.
Vora is also an investor in Fogg-deo- maker Vini Cosmetics, which raised funds from private equity firm WestBridge Capital Partners in September 2017. He has also invested in Noida-based Soothe Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, the firm behind Paree brand of sanitary napkins.
Besides, Vora has invested in Avigo Capital-backed sports-focused digital display solutions firm Technology Frontiers and aircraft maintenance and repair company AirWorks, which is backed by private equity firms New Enterprise Associates and GTI Capital.

Deals in ed-tech space
Other ed-tech startups that have raised funds recently include Toppr, which secured $100,000 (Rs 65 lakh) last month as part of an extended Series B round from Hong Kong- based early-stage investor Axis Capital Partners.
In the beginning of this month, Buddy4Study raised $3 million (Rs 20 crore) in a Series A round from existing investor CBA Capital, which is backed by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.
In early February, CollegeDekho raised $2 million (Rs 13.2 crore) in its third round from London-based Man Capital LLP, Girnar Software and others.
Last month, Pune-based ed-tech startup Rubix108 Technologies secured $1 million (Rs 6.5 crore) in a pre-Series A round led by Polaris Fund.
Bengaluru-based iNurture raised Rs 28 crore in a Series C round led by Ventureast in the last week of January.
Aeon Learning Pvt. Ltd raised $3.2 million (Rs 20.43 crore) in a Series B round from MEMG Family Office LLP in the last week of January.