Online learning platform FrontRow is raising $3 million from Lightspeed and SAIF Partners, according to two people familiar with the matter. This comes at a time when online learning has been garnering high demand with people across the country being confined to their homes.
Started by former Lightspeed executive Ishaan Preet Singh along with Mikhil Raj and Shubhadit Sharma, FrontRow (registered as Splashstar Technologies) is a learning platform for creative arts, hobbies and sports. The platform is expected to be launched in the next few months.
“They are building something on the lines of Masterclass,” said one of the persons cited above, requesting anonymity. “But it will be more democratized where one person who has a specific skill can teach a class and doesn’t have to be an expert.”
FrontRow, Lightspeed and SAIF Partners did not respond to queries sent by Entrackr. We will update the post as and when they respond.
This investment also ties into the larger theme of how the early-stage investment activity has changed during the pandemic. Even as the overall startup investment activity has come to a grinding halt, early-stage investors are evaluating deals with startups in newer spaces in the hope to bet early on a potentially big business which has resulted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Early-stage venture capital firms are in talks with multiple startups spanning across sectors from education, gaming, SaaS and even newer grocery models, according to multiple people Entrackr spoke with.
“Since there is market uncertainty, all investors are trying to play safe and write small cheques,” said an investor in the space, requesting anonymity. “After taking stock and coming up with strategies for their existing portfolio companies, early-stage investors are now having conversations with startups that have the potential to grow in the current scenario.”
Investors expect a fundamental shift in user behaviour in the online education, content and gaming space based on the performance of some of their portfolio companies, prompting them to evaluate newer startups in this space as well. That said, even as investors are talking to founders and evaluating new deals, industry experts say that they are still not comfortable making a deal online entirely.
“One early-stage VC has given some five term sheets since the beginning of March,” said another investor, requesting anonymity. “But these are still where the investors had met the founders or the team earlier at some point and then the follow on conversations took place online.”