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Exclusive: After mass layoffs, FrontRow explores acquisition deals


FrontRow, a learning platform for non-academic skills, is exploring acquisition deals following mass layoffs in October last year, multiple sources aware of the development told Entrackr

The MasterClass-esque edtech startup fired nearly 90% of its employees across two phases in 2022 and is now left with some 40-odd employees. 

“FrontRow is in talks with a clutch of players to consolidate as it sees no future in running alone and if the acquisition talks fall through, it may shut down as well,” said one of the sources requesting anonymity.

FrontRow grabbed the headlines when it raised $3.2 million in seed money from Lightspeed, Elevation Capital and Deepika Padukone’s family office in November 2020 followed by a $14 million Series A round in September 2021. Entrackr had exclusively reported the development.

Responding to Entrackr’s queries, FrontRow’s co-founder Ishaan Preet Singh said they have been running different experiments in the non-academic space to find a product-market fit. “We (founders and investors) had always set a June date for taking a step back and reflecting on the pilots we’re running and while we’ve made a ton of progress, and have a CM positive (albeit very small scale business), we’re having multiple conversations on what’s the best place for the company, including whether the market is large enough to support an independent player or whether this fits better within a larger multi category company. We’ll be figuring this out over the next couple of months,” he added.

According to sources, the company has also asked its remaining staff to look out for jobs as it is left with a few months of runway. 

Singh confirmed that the company also kept the team in the loop here, and helping some of them find alternate jobs. However, he emphasised that the firm has over three years of runway. “This isn’t a capital or runway question, it’s more about making sure that when you raise capital with a vision of building a large scale business, you are honest on whether that’s doable in a particular market as you learn more,” said Singh.

FrontRow was founded by Singh (formerly with Lightspeed), Mikhil Raj and Shubhadit Sharma in 2020. It had started as a learning platform for creative arts, hobbies and sports, at the time of the pandemic when most people were home bound and online learning was picking up pace. 

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