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Owl Ventures leads $55 Mn Series C round in Leap Finance

Leap Finance, a fintech platform for Indian students pursuing higher education overseas, has raised $55 million in its Series C led by Owl Ventures. This is the second fundraise for the Bengaluru-based startup in 2021 which scooped up $17 million Series B in March.

The fresh round also saw participation from Harvard Management Company, Inc. and existing investors Jungle Ventures and Sequoia Capital India. It brings the total equity capital raised by the startup to date to over $75 million.

Leap will utilize the fresh proceeds for growth and expand its offerings to students across SE Asia and MENA regions and enable them to pursue education aspirations across more than 20 countries, said the company in a release.

Last month, the company also announced that it plans to hire 500 employees by the end of the year, in India and abroad, to fortify its product and technology stack. 

Leap Finance’s business model and competition

Launched by Vaibhav Singh and Arnav Kumar, the 18 month-old startup is a full stack platform for students keen on pursuing education in overseas universities. Its offering covers counselling, visa, loans, and other financial products. Currently, it provides access to institutes in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. It claims to offer collateral-free education loans via Leap Finance Inc. at an interest rate between 8.25% to 10.25%. 

The company charges a 2% processing fee on loans at the time of fund disbursement. Since its inception, the startup claims to have helped over 60,000 students in their study abroad journey.

Leap also offers an international bank account where students get a working US bank account and debit card while in India with zero charges and the lowest forex rates. The company is planning to launch a credit card for international students.

Leap Finance competes with the likes of MPower Financing and Credenc in terms of financing education abroad. Manu Smadja-led Mpower Financing has emerged as the largest player in this space. It had recently raised $152.5 million in a mix of equity and debt from Tilden Park Capital Management and King Street Capital Management.

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