Leap is a startup that has been in existence for two years, with its headquarters in San Francisco, and Bangalore. It helps students from India to find the right college abroad and prepare for entrance exams.
Leap announced that it raised $55 Million in a new financing round, led by Owl Ventures. Harvard Management Company also participated in the Series C round. This company is well-known for its high-profile LPs to venture funds. The round was also attended by Sequoia Capital India, Jungle Ventures and existing investors. It follows a Series A funding in March and brings Leap's total raise to $75 million.
TechCrunch spoke to Arnav Kumar, founder of Leap. He said that Leap sits at the intersection between edtech, fintech, and both. It helps students from India to find the best college and ensures that they have the capital and visa necessary to live and study abroad.
The startup is tapping into a huge market.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of young adults and teenagers travel from India to seek higher education. According to Ashish Agrawal (Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India), Indian students are more eager than ever to study abroad.
They face many challenges once they arrive in foreign countries.
They can't get a loan or credit card because they don't have local credit history. Banks and other financial institutions charge more for foreigners because they are taking on greater risk. For example, an Indian student studying in the U.S. borrows money at a rate of more than 13%. This is nearly twice what their peers charge.
Leap addresses the financial aspect by offering loans to students at fair interest rates. This is done by evaluating their data and those derived in India.
Finance is just one of the many offerings. The startup has aggressively increased its offerings in order to offer what it calls an infrastructure that will allow students to pursue higher education abroad.
Leap has built a community of more than 1 million students, where they can share their experiences and offer advice. Leap claims it has assisted over 60,000 students on their study abroad journeys in the past 18 months. It just experienced its strongest fall season.
Kumar said that Leap has seen strong growth since our last conversation. He said that the startup has seen a significant increase in its community (with an additional 100,000 students per month), and that its test preparation app has become increasingly popular. Additionally, its core financial services have also increased in popularity.
The startup also offers help for students to land internships if they choose to study abroad. This solves another problem faced by international students.
Leap now has the funding to expand its international reach, including the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It will also help students study in 20 countries, according to Kumar, who was previously an associate vice president at Elevation Capital.
Leap is poised to be the leading platform for international students. Amit Patel (Managing Director of Owl Ventures), stated that the overseas education market is fragmented and there is no one-stop solution.
Students can find it difficult to figure out where to start preparation, which colleges to target and how to finance their education. Leap has created a platform that will address all student financing and preparation needs. Owl Ventures is thrilled to expand our partnership with Vaibhav and Arnav from the Leap team in order to make studying abroad a reality.