Leap Finance funding
Leap, an overseas education platform, that runs Leap Finance and Leap Scholar, has acquired $17 million in Series B funding led by Jungle Ventures. The round also witnessed participation from Owl Ventures and Sequoia Capital India. The company had also acquired $5.5 million led by Sequoia Capital India last year. The total funding acquired by Leap is now at $22.5 million.
With this recent funding, Leap intends to grow its product portfolio, build its team across business and technological functions, grow geographically, and also expand its student communities. The startup also intends at establishing global offices for institutional partnerships and other business functions.
In a press statement shared by the company, Arnav Kumar, co-founder of Leap, said, “We are a one-stop solution for everything that a study abroad aspirant needs. India has the largest pool of STEM-educated English-speaking graduates, and millions of them want global degrees and careers. This is a big decision and there is a real need for accurate information and expert guidance. Our online community helps students evaluate career options, network with seniors, and shortlist the best courses. We then use this data to offer personalized test prep, professional counseling services, visa guidance, and financial products.”
Founded in 2019, Leap is creating a one-stop platform for students who aspire to study abroad and international students. Headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Bengaluru, Leap provides visa services, education loans, counseling services, and other financial products customized for international students.
Vaibhav Singh, co-founder of Leap, said “Our mission is to make global education and careers more accessible to meritorious Indian students. We are unlocking access to financial products and career services which international students are traditionally locked out of. You can think of us as a neobank offering tailored products to the international student community.”
Leap provides an international educational loan product that includes the full cost of study, loans in dollars to students pursuing international education in the US, and zero collateral loans. The company has expanded its suite to Canada, UK, and Australia.
Leap has helped over 20,000 students in their journey to study overseas in the past year and intends to serve 150,000 students in the current year.
Commenting on the announcement, Amit Anand, Founding Partner, Jungle Ventures said, “Leap marks our first investment in the edtech space. India is the second-largest market globally for overseas enrolment, and in just a decade overseas higher education annual enrolments from India are up more than 300 percent. In addition, South East Asian markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia are also large contributors to overseas education.”
Amit added that this has emerged as a huge opportunity in an otherwise fragmented landscape. Leap is addressing this huge opportunity through its end-to-end tech platform and a community-first approach. “We are proud to partner with Vaibhav and Arnav in their growth journey as they become the default destination for outbound students pursuing international education,” said Amit.
The education loans provided by Leap are significantly cheaper in comparison to its existing market alternatives. The company also provides its students with international bank accounts. This gives them a working US bank account and debit card while in India, with zero charges and the lowest forex rates. The startup is also shortly launching a credit card customized to the needs of international students.
Ashish Agrawal, Principal, Sequoia Capital India, said, “2020 was a tough year for international education with Covid related travel restrictions. We are impressed by the resilience of the Leap team during the last year, where not only have they served hundreds of students with their financing solutions but have also expanded with Leap Scholar providing counseling to thousands of Indian students looking to study abroad. This vertically integrated strategy has materially strengthened the moats for Leap.”
In a span of two years, the startup has created a community of over 500,000 profiled members and over 200,000 active monthly users who exchanged 9 million chat messages last month.
Amit Patel, Managing Director of Owl Ventures, said, “There is a clear need for a one-stop, global student mobility platform – right now the value chain is fragmented and a student has to interact with several entities in their study abroad journey. Leap’s solution ties it all together. We are excited to partner with them as they unlock value in this fast-growing segment.”