Celebrity-focused online learning and community platform FrontRow is in late-stage talks with new and existing backers to raise $10-12 million in a Series A round, said three people aware of the details of the transaction.
This would be the company’s first fundraise in 2021.
“EightRoad Ventures would lead the round while existing investors Lightspeed and Elevation Capital will also participate on a pro-rata basis,” said one of the people requesting anonymity. “The contours of the deal are almost finalised and if nothing goes wrong from here, the transaction will be done in a couple of weeks.”
Founded by former Lightspeed executive Ishaan Preet Singh, Mikhil Raj and Shubhadit Sharma, FrontRow provides skill-based paid courses with the help of celebrity instructors. Think of it as MasterClass for India.
According to its website, it offers 10 courses in genres such as cricket, music and comedy. At present, it has 17 mentors including Amit Trivedi, Neha Kakkar, Suresh Raina. Users can pay and access after paying a one-time fee per course that ranges from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000.
FrontRow had raised $3.2 million in its maiden round from Lightspeed, Elevation Capital and Deppika Padukone’s family office. Entrackr had exclusively reported about its seed round in May last year.
“FrontRow will be valued in the range of $60 million in this round,” said another source who also requested anonymity as talks are private.
Queries sent to FrontRow, Eight Roads Ventures, Lightspeed and Elevation did not elicit any immediate responses. We will update the story in case they reply.
According to Sensor Tower data, FrontRow has been downloaded 650K times since its launch. The company majorly competes with Unlu among a few others. Unlu had raised $2 million in its seed round led by Nexus Venture Partners and as per sources, the Gurugram-based company is currently in conversation to raise up to $8 million.
During the last year, as online learning became front and centre, massive open online course (MOOC) platforms such as MasterClass, witnessed unprecedented growth. The company raised $100 million last year, and $225 million just last month, in a bid to further accelerate growth as users spiked almost 1000% on its platform in 2020.
A similar trend has picked up in India, where many such platforms with celebrity-taught courses are gaining momentum. Apart from FrontRow, other platforms offering similar courses in India include Mento and Celebrity School.