Jaipur based SRJNA, a brand of Elation Edtech Pvt. Ltd., which helps schools to integrate hands on, affordable and turnkey STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) solutions in their regular curriculum by setting up and facilitating Innovation and Tinkering Labs, has today announced that it has raised funds from US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital under its edLABS initiative.
Just last month, edLABS initiative made an investment of $180,000 in Kidovators, a skill learning platform of Bengaluru based ADD-on-GYAN Educational Services Pvt. Ltd..
edLABS, Gray Matters Capital’s early stage education and skilling sector focused innovation portfolio, is committing $8 million over the next 3 years to for-profit enterprises to help ‘visionary edu-preneurs’ build breakthrough solutions that address education gaps, 21st century skills and future of work for the Indian mass market.
The funding of SRJNA marks the first of the four investments to be made by Gray Matters Capital through edLABS in September, after closing of a seed round funding of US$ 150,000 in 21st century skill learning platform – Kidovators in July 2018.
The company has also received funding Keiretsu Forum – a global investment community of accredited private equity angel investors, venture capitalists and institutional investors and SucSEED Venture Partners in this round.
“We at SRJNA are making it easier for schools to upgrade themselves as a STEM powered school with our comprehensive end to end offerings”, said Sharad Bansal, Co-Founder and CEO, SRJNA. “We are happy to have won the interest of investors like Gray Matters Capital’s edLABS who bring in the breadth and depth of domain expertise and high impact network in the education space, beyond capital. With the current round of funding from edLABS, Keiritsu and SucSEED Ventures, SRJNA will look at augmenting its content R&D, technology and building a channel partner network for faster growth across the 1.5 million addressable school market in the country,” he added.
Speaking on the development, Ragini Bajaj Chaudhary, India CEO, Gray Matters Capital, said, “Start-ups like SRJNA have understood the importance of scientific temper and cultivating the spirit of curiosity, creativity and imagination among young minds – which sow the seeds for future innovations. We would like more girls to get interested in STEM to bridge the gender gap and believe that there is a link between imparting STEM concepts in an experiential manner to improvements in learning outcomes. Our funding of SRJNA is a step to make a difference to the lives of over 250 million school students.”
Throwing light on the investment rationale, Smita Sircar, Innovations Director – edLABS and Ecosystem Development said, “We met the team last year and have been tracking the progress since then. SRJNA scores high on innovation quotient as it takes STEM experiential learning into classrooms; has a robust value-chain for delivery and has shown traction in scaling its revenue. It also aligns with our ecosystem work to enable 21 century relevant learning environments in schools and SRJNA does so via tiered pricing and product structure to cater to the broad spectrum of demand in the market.”
Fostering Innovation and Creativity through Tinkering
SRJNA sells its STEM kits directly to schools and has facilitated the set-up of its labs in 100+ schools benefitting 50,000+ students and 1000+ teachers across 26 cities in 15 states.
STEM Education is key to any nation’s success in 21st century especially Interactive Learning. With the Government of India’s NITI Ayog announcing the set up of 30,000 innovation play workspaces in the form of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) for students in grades 8 to 12 in the next 3 years, SRJNA is well placed to benefit from the Government’s flagship program Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) with its dedicated studio labs it sets up in schools to transform ideas into reality via 3D printing, Robotics, IOT, as well as through mechanical and electrical tools in STEM Tinkering Kits.
Besides the Tinkering Labs, SRJNA also facilitates experiential learning of STEM concepts in K10 classrooms through its Innovation Labs comprising teaching aids and student assessments over an online platform. It adopts a 5 dimensional learning approach of seeing, touching, feeling, understanding and performing which help students see the concepts taught by the teacher function in real-time in the classroom.
“Keiretsu Forum seeks to back promising entrepreneurs with ‘smart money,’ where the network’s members open many doors to portfolio companies, and SRJNA is an example where we’ve been able to add considerable value in addition to the money our members invested,” said Denny Kurien, President & CEO of Keiretsu Forum. Keiretsu investors who threw their weight behind SRJNA included Dr. Sushil Vachani, former director of IIM Bangalore and Chand Das, former CEO of ITC’s education business.
“Our Investors Personally observed the passion and fire in founders’ thinking and vision for future of education in India. Their founding team, toolkits and success with their initial customer base was instrumental in our decision to participate in this round to enable their next stage of growth. Our Investors wanted to participate and contribute to system that helped us succeed in life” quoted Vikrant Varshney, Managing Partner of SucSEED Venture Partners.
SRJNA has also been selected by Govt. of Rajasthan under itsiStart initiative and is among the seven start-ups in the state to be funded through its Bhamashah Techno Fund in June this year.
Recent Investments by Gray Matters Capital
In February, Chrysalis, a Chennai-based education reform startup raised a pre-series A funding round from Gray Matters Capital as well.
In the same month, Bengaluru based edtech startup IMAX Program raised $13.5 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, LGT Impact Ventures and existing investor Aspada.