Naspers invests in edtech start-up Brainly

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 26 Jul 2019

Global peer-to-peer e-learning platform, Brainly, has raised $30 million (R423 million) in a funding round led by Naspers, with participation from Runa Capital and Manta Ray.

Founded in 2009, the Poland-based start-up connects students and parents who require educational advice to tutors across the globe.

The platform has steadily grown over the years to become a leading edtech player, with presence in 35 countries and over 150 million monthly visitors.

The latest investment, combined with Brainly’s previous funding rounds, brings the company’s total funding to $68.5 million (R960 million) to date.

The company says the funding will be used to enhance Brainly’s user experience and create the next generation of the platform.

In addition, the funds will help further expand its user base in the US, a key market where Brainly is currently headquartered.

"Every student struggles with schoolwork at some point. But never before has there been such widespread access and opportunity for students to learn from one another," explains Brainly CEO and co-founder Michał Borkowski.

"Our goal is to extend that access to every one of the 76 million US students and beyond, giving them the resources and the tools to succeed and inspire collaborative learning. This funding allows us to do just that."

In addition to the US, Brainly's largest communities are in Russia, Indonesia, India, Turkey, Brazil and Poland.

Students use Brainly to strengthen their skills across core subjects such as math, history, science and social studies.

Global consumer Internet group Naspers is one of the largest technology investors in the world, with operations and investments in more than 120 countries and markets.

Its portfolio spans technology sectors as far-reaching as online classifieds, payments and fintech, online food delivery, online travel, social and Internet services, education and health.

"We have been impressed by Brainly's growth over the past 10 years, particularly in the US and high-growth markets like India, Indonesia, Turkey and Brazil," notes Larry Illg, CEO of Naspers Ventures.

"At Naspers, we back companies seeking to address big societal needs like education, helping them fulfil their vision with the ultimate aim of achieving global scale. Brainly has the potential to serve the needs of hundreds of millions of students around the world and Michal and the team are building an invaluable service for learners everywhere."

The edtech company says its ‘crowdlearning’ model combines online education, social media and machine learning, and is disrupting the $2.6 billion education market on a global level.

“Brainly exists to level the playing field for all students, no matter where they are, what language they speak, or the circumstances of their school districts. This is why our platform is so universal and used by students all over the world,” adds Borkowski.

In 2016 and 2017, Brainly closed $15 million Series B funding and $14 million Series B-1 funding, led by Naspers and Kulczyk Investments, respectively. Previous investors include General Catalyst Partners, Point Nine Capital, Runa Capital and Learn Capital.

Last month, Naspers invested R30 million in online cleaning services start-up SweepSouth, through its start-up fund initiative, Naspers Foundry.

Founded in October 2018, Naspers Foundry is a R1.4 billion start-up fund aimed at boosting the South African technology sector as well as helping talented and ambitious South African technology entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses.

In December, Naspers led a combination primary and secondary investment of $540 million (R7.7 billion) in India's largest education company BYJU'S.