Leverage Edu, an Artificial Inelligencec (AI) -enabled marketplace designed to help students with their higher education and career growth plans, today announced that it has raised a pre-series A round of funding led by DSG Consumer Partners & Blume Ventures.

The funds will boost the company's mission to democratize access to mentorship by continuing its growth path and further developing the platform. This is the company's second round of financing post a seed round raised late last year.

"We are excited to partner with DSG, who are champions at helping build much loved consumer brands, and with Blume, who’ve spearheaded helping tech companies scale – both of which we aspire to be. Over the last 12 months, we have grown from a college admissions platform to a full-stack career growth company, that helps students starting grade 8 with mentorship and assessments, moves to high schoolers and college goers applying to undergraduate and postgraduate programs, and goes right up to young professionals seeking high-end career advice from best-matched experts on our marketplace", said Akshay Chaturvedi, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Leverage Edu.

Leverage Edu uses an AI tool to help students identify what program or college they are best suited for, and then matches them to a Mentor, selected from a vast panel of Expert Mentors, best-fitted to the unique profile the student for virtual mentorship sessions. "The best-fit mentor advising the student means that students who had not tasted success in multiple attempts before, are now suddenly able to win. That's very empowering for us!", Akshay Chaturvedi, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Leverage Edu added.

Deepak I. Shahdadpuri, Managing Director, DSG Consumer Partners said “We are bullish on the education sector globally, and in India. There is a need in the market to help students apply to better quality global education institutions, and to advise students on their careers, to help them get better jobs. Leverage Edu aims to address these needs, providing relevant, personalized advice to students and young professionals. We believe Akshay and Rajeev have the vision and ability to build Leverage Edu into one of India’s largest and most reliable career growth platforms.

Representing DSGCP as an advisor, Chaitanya Rathi has joined the board of the company as a director.

"We are delighted to partner with Akshay, Rajiv and their talented team to help them build out and now scale the higher ed platform they are building." said Sajith Pai of Blume Ventures, who led the deal from Blume's side. He adds, "College admissions, especially international college admissions and adjacent spaces are a broken, fragmented and underserved market. As India gets richer, we are likely to see an exponential growth in demand for international and new age higher ed institutions. Leverage Edu's smart use of tech, its proprietary mentorship platform, and aggression will help them tap this demand effectively, enabling them to delight and better serve the new cohort of students coming out of urban India." Leverage Edu is one of the first investments from Blume's new Fund III.

Leverage Edu has now also ventured into helping students with exclusive scholarships, industry-best educational loans, help on housing, forex/VISA, and more, through multiple global partnerships. "International Study is a massively underserved market, and our largest category continues to be Study Abroad, so we will go deeper there. We want to be a one-stop shop, from discovery to dorm room", Chaturvedi adds.

In an otherwise broken industry, Leverage Edu is using technology to bring multiple pieces together and provide a seamless experience to the student and in that process, is aiming to capture a very significant spend of the economy on its platform. The company also plans to launch new products for colleges to admit better and enter into more cities post this round.

Founded in early 2017 by Akshay Chaturvedi and Rajiv Ganjoo, Leverage Edu's online platform helps students accelerate their careers through mentorship products, end-to-end college admissions guidance, programs to help get first-job ready, as well as one-to-one virtual career advisory for multiple career streams. The platform brings together 700+ mentors from around the world today, who hail from top global colleges like Stanford, NYU, Oxford, MIT, Yale, Harvard, and wide-varying experience centers like Goldman Sachs, Apple, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, Amazon, Facebook, McKinsey & Co., Tesla, and more. It presently has offices in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

DSG Consumer Partners (DSGCP) is a venture capital fund focused on identifying, selecting and investing exclusively inearly-stage consumer businesses in India and South East Asia. Their current and past investments include Sula Wines, Cleartrip, Raw Pressery, Veeba Foods, Mswipe, OYO Rooms (exit to Softbank), Zipdial (sold to Twitter), Redmart (sold to Lazada) GOQii, Chai Point and India Lends. DSGCP has US$100m under management and is now investing from DSGCP II and is in the process of raising $60mn for DSGCP III this year.

Founded in 2010 by Karthik Reddy and Sanjay Nath, Blume Ventures is a leading seed and pre-A fund that backs startups with funding as well as active mentoring and support. Blume has invested in over 100 companies, including GreyOrange, Unacademy, Turtlemint, Cashify, Servify, Locus, Stellaps, Cashify, Healthifyme and many more. Some of the key exits from Blume’s portfolio include Taxiforsure (acquired by Olacabs), Zipdial (Twitter), Promptec (Havells), Runnr (Zomato), Minjar (Nutanix), Mettl (Mercer) and E2E (partial exit with IPO listing on NSE Emerge). With offices in Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Bengaluru, Blume is also a member of the global Draper Venture Network (DVN).

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