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FirstCry forays into kids education biz, acquires Oi Playschool

In its second major acquisition after BabyOye, SoftBank-backed baby care products e-tailer FirstCry has announced its entry into kids education space with the acquisition of Oi Playschool.

While the amount of the cash transactions deal remains undisclosed, FirstCry aims to leverage its premium chain and educational curriculum to make a dent in the pre-primary education segment.

FirstCry’s Chief Executive Officer Supam Maheshwari found the Oi team very passionate and impressive franchisee partners with their educationist approach.

According to a TOI report, the baby care product e-tailer plans to increase the number of Oi Playschool’s centres to 1,000 across India by 2024

Currently, Oi Playschool, which operates on a franchise model, runs about 55 centres in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The playschool has educational programmes including pre-nursery, nursery and pre-preparatory classes.

On its website, Oi claims to focus on child safety, security and hygiene, after-school programmes, active learning and a positive environment.

Oi Playschool will take on existing players such as Eurokids and Kidzee in the pre-primary education space, which is the fastest-growing segment and expected to reach $5 billion by 2022.

The acquisition will help the Pune-based firm to tap into the market of baby care and services more holistically.

For FirstCry, this is the second acquisition after BabyOye in 2016.

The nine-year-old e-tailer claims to offer more than two lakh baby and kids products across categories that include diapering, feeding, nursing, skin and health care, and fashion accessories among others.

FirstCry is one of the early online platforms to evangelise the offline space. Along with Lenskart, its omnichannel strategy proved to be successful at scale. At present,  it has about 400 offline stores in 28 states in India and had recently expanded to Dubai.

Till date, FirstCry has raised a total of $268.4 million in funding. In January, it raised around $150 million as a part of $400 million round from Softbank.

The Pune-based firm has investors including Ratan Tata, IDG Ventures, Valiant Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and SAIF Partners.

While FirstCry is yet to file its financials for FY19, the firm has shown improved performance. In FY18, the company had significantly reduced its losses from Rs 393.24 crore to Rs 54.55 crore. During the period, its revenue recorded 48.03% growth from Rs 240 crore in FY17 to Rs 355.2 crore.

FirstCry competes with marketplace majors such as Amazon and Flipkart along with niche players – Hopscotch, Toonz, and Forever Kids.

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