Press Release – Mumbai, 25th Nov, 2013
Mumbai, 25th November: InOpen Technologies, an Indian education company incubated in IIT Bombay co-founded by Rupesh Kumar Shah and Dr. Sridhar Iyer, has raised a strategic investment and Series A round of equity capital for a small minority stake from Benesse Holdings (Benesse), a Japanese education giant. The seed investment was made by Ventureast in Aug 2011.
InOpen focuses on building high quality content through intense and extensive research. The flagship product, ‘Computer Masti’ is a computer science learning solution that has been implemented in over 200 schools and used by 0.5 millions students in India alone. The Curriculum developed by InOpen has received accolades from all over the world.
This is a landmark transaction and the first time a Japanese Education Major has invested in an early stage Indian education company. The key objective of InOpen and Benesse’s collaboration is to jointly develop products for the global education market, starting with the USA and Japan.
InOpen is in discussions with investors, both financial and impact funds for further investment. InOpen would be looking to raise further capital to cater to the ever growing demand of domestic and international markets and would soon initiate conversation with like minded financial investors.
Speaking on this transaction, Rupesh Kumar Shah, Co-Founder & CEO, InOpen, said, “We are excited to work with a group of investors who strongly believe in our vision with education, business strategy and our long-term goals. Benesse Holdings is a reputed name in education sector with enormous experience. India’s education market is at a critical point where integration of technology and world class content is taking place. InOpen is directly having an impact on half a million students, by imparting life skills through technology education. Benesse’s strategic partnership with InOpen has ascertain our belief of changing the way computer science is taught to students globally and helping us build a generation of structured thinkers, who will be better citizens of tomorrow. The capital will allow us to build a strong team, increase our customer support bandwidth and further expand on our leadership position in this sector.”
Benesse has made this investment from the Benesse Social Investment Facility (“BSIF”), a facility established recently to invest in companies focused on solving social issues in education, child care and other related fields in emerging Asian countries and Japan. BSIF was established in April 2013 by Benesse with a capital of US$ 15mn . InOpen is the first investee of BSIF. Takaho Miki, Global Social Business Office, Benesse Holdings, Inc, commented, “We believe that computer science education based on InOpen’s educational materials will contribute significantly to solving social problems by improving future employment opportunities and income levels for schoolchildren in India, including those from low-income families. By investing in InOpen and strengthening its collaborative relationship, we aim to promote the further expansion of computer science education in India and other.”
Sateesh Andra, Managing Partner, Ventureast Tenet Fund, commented, “InOpen’s biggest strength is its curriculum available in both print and digital formats. Another big positive is that it is focused on one are – Computer Science Education. It is such support that it will help InOpen grown globally” Unitus Capital advised the company on this transaction. Amit Kumar Rathi and Abhishek Fogla, Vice Presidents at Unitus Capital added, “Unitus Capital is honoured to have been part of this landmark transaction between Benesse, an education stalwart and InOpen, an innovative Indian company which we soon expect to become an education multinational. Education in India is now fast maturing, with more and more thrust on conceptual learning through digital techniques, which is the forte of InOpen”
About InOpen Technologies: InOpen believes n the information age, it is important to equip the students with the right combination of cognitive (thinking) and behavioural (life skills or 21st century skills) skills along with the right attitude (self learning abilities). It believes that there is a need to present content in a way that is simple, yet very engaging. Infact InOpen began with the belief that there is an urgent need to simplify solutions and present them in a way that is simple and a part of the core curriculum.
The firm was started in 2009 in IIT Bombay by Rupesh Kumar Shah and Dr. Sridhar Iyer. It has till now been successful in providing its content in 8 Indian languages and 2 international languages to more than 500,000 students in over 200 private schools across India and also large scale government project in Assam and other states. InOpen serves the K-12 market with their flagship product, Computer Masti and newly introduced Science curriculum, Small Science.
The solution is designed based on the inputs and extensive validations from academicians from India and abroad. InOpen believes that their success is largely due to its obsession with providing schools a memorable learning experience — be it their cutting edge Computer Masti Curriculum with its customised content for every school, or the unique handholding visits, or the availability of content in multiple languages. At the end of the day, it is about the commitment to continue offering the highest standard of content now and always. InOpen has been chosen by students in India across 200+ private schools and other state projects. In the year of 2014, InOpen is on its way to spread InOpen smile to 1 million students.
About Benesse Holdings, Incorporation: About Benesse Holdings, Incorporated: Benesse Holdings, Inc. is a Japanese holding company engaged in education, lifestyle products, senior/nursing care and language/leadership training businesses in Japan and international markets . Benesse was established in 1955 as a publishing company. It later diversified into the business of providing correspondence courses for the K-12 and pre-school educational segments. In the 1990s and 2000s, the company entered new business domains, including language education, childcare magazines and the nursing care business. The company currently has a presence in the USA and Indonesia.