Mumbai Capital

Mohandas Pai, Aarin Cap lead seed funding for Magic Crate

Former Infosys DirectorTV Mohandas Pai. —file photo  

Former Infosys Director TV Mohandas Pai in his personal capacity, and Aarin Capital, have led an undisclosed amount of seed funding in Magic Crate, an early childhood learning startup. Magic Crate was started in 2015 by IIT-IIM alumnus Viswanathan Ramakrishnan along with his friend and ex-McKinsey consultant Karthik Lakshman.

The start-up offers an inquiry and play-based programme for early childhood learning at home.

Mr Pai also runs private equity fund Aarin Capital along with Manipal Group scion Ranjan Pai, which invests in life sciences and education startups.

Magic Crate offers a subscription-based service that produces and delivers hands-on activities for children. The activities are designed by a team of early childhood experts and product designers. For each age group, the company offers 3, 6 and 12 month plans at prices starting at Rs 549 per month.

“We launched Magic Crate in early 2015 with about 100 crates shipped in the first month. We have been growing 50 per cent month on month and currently ship several thousand crates each month to 1200+ pin codes across the country. We expect adoption to increase as we launch our digital platform in coming days,” said Mr Lakshman, co-founder and COO, Magic Crate.

“Education is going through systemic disruption – whether it is on business models, delivery methodologies, pedagogical strategies, syllabus personalisation, or collaborative learning. The early childhood learning challenge is not just a child-oriented problem, but one that is also driven by the need for parents to engage their children in the right manner. So how do we enable parents to develop a habit of learning in their children through a deeply-engaging process while also making it an enriched bonding experience?” Pranav Pai, investing on behalf of Mr Mohandas Pai, said.

Magic Crate intends to use the raised funds towards expanding its product portfolio, growing the team, and scaling manufacturing. The firm said other investors who participated in the round included Narayanan Ramaswamy, head of education practice at a leading consulting firm, and Sethuraman, finance expert and practising chartered accountant.

“Research shows that about 80 per cent of critical brain development happens before the child turns eight. This has a direct correlation with what they are exposed to, during those years. Also, in this age group, they have a phenomenal amount of free time and it becomes a big challenge to engage them at home. Magic Crate is solving this pain point for millions of busy, but well-intentioned parents,” said Mr Ramakrishnan, co-founder and CEO of Magic Crate.

There have been a couple of players , which have raised funds in the last two years. In 2014, Flinto, which makes educational activity kits for children, raised Rs 1.8 crore from consortium of investors led by GSF to expand marketing and operations.

Other investors included Globevestor, a global online venture capital platform based in San Mateo in California, Asian Ecommerce Alliance GmBH and People Group, which runs Shaadi.com. The founders of Flipkart and Snapdeal have funded MadRat Games, a designer of board games for children.

Mr Pai has emerged as one of India’s most prolific angel investors. Mr Pai has invested in over three dozen young tech companies, including online media company YourStory, peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent, and vernacular language-driven exam preparation venture OnlineTyari.com.



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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 11:36:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/business/mohandas-pai-aarin-cap-lead-seed-funding-for-magic-crate/article8196554.ece

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