FrontRow, a learning platform for non-academic skills, raised $14 million led by Eight Roads Ventures and GSV, with strong participation from existing investors Lightspeed and Elevation Capital. The round also saw participation from angels such as Vishal Dhadlani, Raftaar, Kunal Shah, Gaurav Munjal, Farid Ahsan and multiple leaders across the startup and entertainment world.
FrontRow, founded by Shubhadit Sharma, Mikhil Raj and Ishaan Preet Singh, launched just 9 months ago and has scaled to 50K+ paid learners across 2000+ cities worldwide, with users spending over a million hours learning on FrontRow. They had earlier raised a $3.2mn seed round led by Lightspeed, Elevation and Deepika Padukone’s Family Office.
FrontRow offers a complete learning experience, for pursuers of passion, with flagship courses taught by industry stalwarts such as Amit Trivedi, Neha Kakkar, DIVINE, Suresh Raina and 100+ live courses taught by influencers and experts for learners to go deeper in their field. A big differentiator for the company according to Mikhil Raj (co-founder of FrontRow) is their community and cohort based approach, “70%+ of learning is actually outside the classroom and that’s the part that hasn’t been solved yet. We enable people to learn from the best, and the small cohorts and community create a learning experience miles ahead of anything out there. In fact we see over 100K+ users learn through our communities every month!”
Talking about his investment in FrontRow, Vishal Dhadlani reiterated the unique offering and leadership position that FrontRow has gotten to in a short period of time, “Ed-tech is something I’m passionate about, both as a musician who appreciates the wider-access it provides to real and useful knowledge and content, as well as an investor who sees the strength of the business model. Above all else, of everything one sees out there, Frontrow is clearly the best online platform to learn and practice music. That alone is enough reason for me to want to be a part of it.”
Aditya Systla, Partner, Eight Roads Ventures said: “As investors we’ve been a big champion of the role technology will play in disrupting multiple sectors, including education. We believe the market is highly under-served with strong secular trends in digital adoption of non-academic learning driven by limited availability of qualified instructors, flexibility in scheduling and lack of access to structured curriculum. Ishaan, Mikhil Shubhadit and the team at FrontRow have taken the ‘pursuit of passion’ digital, at a time when few others have in India. We are very excited to back one of the market leading companies focused on non-academic learning.”
Chirag Chadha, Vice President at Elevation Capital said, “Frontrow has uncovered a unique approach to go after its mission of enabling Indians to learn and follow their passion. As Day 0 investors in the company, we have been amazed to see the response and love for the product, and the way in which the team has iterated to make this happen. This makes us super excited to extend our commitment in this round.”
“FrontRow is the pioneer of the passion economy in India, powering skills, knowledge and giving life to the aspirations of potential hundreds of millions of students across the country from all walks of life. We’re proud to have partnered with the Front row team since their inception and are excited about the next phase of execution of the FrontRow vision this round unlocks”, added Akshay Bhushan, Partner, Lightspeed
The company plans to use the funds to scale to 10+ categories and 300+ courses over the next year. Additionally, talking about their vision, Ishaan Singh, Co-founder, FrontRow says they’ll be investing heavily on team and product, “We launched Front Row with a simple core belief – pursuing your passion is a fundamental human need. Our goal is to help you learn in the best way possible, across categories and mediums. The next decade will see new paradigms of learning, built online first, and better than offline! For this, we’re building a new model of community and cohort led learning that is a fundamental evolution of edtech.”