Overseas education platform Leap, that runs Leap Finance and Leap Scholar, has raised $17 million in Series B funding led by Jungle Ventures, and the round also saw participation from Sequoia Capital India and Owl Ventures. The startup had raised $5.5 million led by Sequoia Capital India last year. The total funding raised by Leap is now at $22.5 million.
With this current funding, Leap aims to expand its product portfolio, strengthen its team across business and technological functions, expand geographically, and also grow its student communities. The company will also establish global offices for institutional partnerships and other business functions.
Arnav Kumar, co-founder of Leap, said in a press statement shared by the company, “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.”
Founded in 2019, Leap is building a one-stop platform for study abroad aspirants and international students.
Headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Bengaluru, Leap offers counselling services, visa services, education loans and other financial products tailored for international students.
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 offers an international educational loan product that provides – full cost of study, dollar loans to students pursuing international education in the US, zero collateral loans. The startup has expanded its suite to UK, Canada, and Australia.
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.
Commenting on the announcement, Amit Anand, Founding Partner, Jungle Ventures said, “Leap marks our first investment in the edtech 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 percent. In addition, South East Asian markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia are also large contributors to overseas education.”
Amit added 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,” said Amit.
The education loans by Leap are significantly cheaper when compared with existing market alternatives. The startup also provides international bank accounts for students. This gives them 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
Ashish Agrawal, Principal, Sequoia Capital India, said, “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.”
The startup in a span of two years has built a community of over 500,000 profiled members and over 200,000 monthly active users who exchanged 9 million chat messages last month.
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.”