Bengaluru and US-based Springboard (formerly SlideRule), an EdTech company has raised $1.7 million in seed funding.
Investors in the round include Allen Blue, co-founder of LinkedIn; John Katzman, founder of The Princeton Review, 2U and The Noodle Companies; Naveen Tewari and Amit Gupta, founders of InMobi; Kartik Hosanagar, Wharton School professor; 500 Startups, serial entrepreneur Kashyap Deorah and others. The funding will be used to increase the capacity in currently sold-out courses, provide additional student services and support, and launch courses in new fields.
Launched in 2013 by Parul Gupta and Gautam Tambay as SlideRule, the startup soon grew to become an online school for new economy skills. Its rebrand to Springboard fits this expanded mission, and the company expanded to curated learning paths. The feedback it received from students indicated a need for more guidance and interaction, hence the company added the elements of mentorship and community in late 2014, and has since grown more than ten-fold.
The team told iamwire that they differ from most online courses that only focus on content. At Springboard, each student gets access to an industry mentor, as well as a community of fellow students and alumni. Each week, students meet with their mentors, who work at tech companies including Airbnb, Etsy, Uber, and LinkedIn, via one-on-one video calls. The company has grown its network of mentors to more than 100 data science and design professionals over the past 12 months.
“There is incredible demand for trained data scientists and UX designers, even as 45 percent of recent college grads are underemployed and struggle to find effective ways to learn career-related skills,” said Parul Gupta, co-founder of Springboard. “We’re addressing these problems through an incredibly personalized education co-designed with industry experts. Our approach of combining a project-heavy curriculum with 1-on-1 mentorship creates accountability and ensures that our graduates are ready to thrive in the new economy.”
Springboard has also been selected for the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator and Nasscom 10k Warehouse programs in Bangalore.