Instant live tutoring startup Filo announced that it has raised USD 23 mn in Series A round led by Anthos Capital. This is the largest Series A round in the Indian edtech space. The round also saw participation from existing investor Better Capital along with GSV, Sapling Capital, and a host of well known individual investors including Gokul Rajaram, Rob Frohwein (Co-founder – Kabbage), Mate Pencz & Florian Hagenbuch (Founders, Loft) and Ross Lipson (Co-founder, Dutchie). Filo will use the funds primarily for product development as it goes deeper into modeling pedagogy at scale, expanding the team, tapping new categories, and scaling its tutor base across the country.
In almost a year, Filo has grown to more than 1.5 million downloads and more than 350K monthly active users along with overwhelming student reviews. The 24X7 live platform is present in more than 15 countries and has over 40,000+ tutors on the platform which is by far the largest pool of tutors in the world. In the next 12 months, the platform plans to onboard over 200,000 tutors across India and conduct 2 million live classes every day. The company raised a pre-seed round at the idea stage and then a USD 2 million seed round in September 2021 – both from Better Capital, while still working in stealth mode.
Filo was founded by a team of serial entrepreneurs and experienced engineers, Imbesat Ahmad (IIT Kharagpur), Shadman Anwer (IIT Delhi), and Rohit Kumar (IIT Kharagpur) who are passionate about delivering high-quality education experiences at scale. Imbesat is an educator and serial entrepreneur who previously founded RiSE, an acclaimed educational institute in Jammu and Kashmir modeled on the lines of Super 30, his alma mater and credited for helping thousands of underprivileged students from the state land in IITs, IVY league colleges. Shadman Anwer co-founded Triplived, a travel curation, and recommendation app before building a scalable tech infrastructure, AR experiences and receipt recognition systems in his last role at MagicPin, the hyperlocal shopping platform. Rohit Kumar started his career with Microsoft, before launching his own startup, ThirdDime in visual arts. Later he joined MagicPin as a founding team member where he brought his expertise of building tech-driven companies and helped the platform to scale from scratch to billion dollar GMV business.
On average, a student faces 10-12 queries every day and due to lack of timely help they generally choose to leave them for later. These small gaps cascade to cause irreversible damage to student performance and end up shattering their confidence in the subject pretty quickly. Filo changes this equation by connecting students to live tutors in under 60 seconds at any hour of the day 24X7 for a video session where they can not just get a solution but build real-time conversational understanding around the concept. Filo recognized this white space in learning and conceived the idea of ‘instant live tutoring’ to offer pedagogy as a service where a student from grades 8 – 12, as well as those preparing for entrance exams like ACT, JEE, NEET, and SAT, can find an apt tutor. Once a query is shared by the student, Filo’s core patent pending algorithm, which the team has perfected over the last 12 months, matches every query to the right tutor on the basis of over 18 predictors like the difficulty of the question, pace preference of the student, language localisation, tutor preferences built over time, target exam/curriculum, and several others.
Imbesat Ahmad, Founder and CEO of Filo said, “At Filo, we are extremely passionate about technology and how it can help students achieve their goals. One of the biggest challenges that students face in their journey are learning gaps which become visible when they are attempting to solve problems on their own. Quick resolutions at this time, when they are fully involved, smoothens their path extensively. However, building a solution like this requires deep engineering and AI capabilities; which is what we have been working on for the last 1.5 years. We have also proven a cash-efficient high pull model which is a first of its kind in the current edtech space. This round of funding will give exponential pace to an already hyper-growth trajectory of Filo and help us scale the tech and innovation opportunities. We are glad our investors share a similar vision for Filo as our leadership team. The combined strategic synergies will help us realize our mission to make the concept of ‘instant live tutoring’ a success worldwide.”
Annie Luchsinger, Investor, Anthos Capital said, “We are excited about Filo because of their unique value proposition to students that has resulted in rapid traction and outstanding customer advocacy. Their ability to effectively and seamlessly match teachers and students in a matter of seconds we believe to be unmatched in the market today and is a use case that can extend globally. We’re thrilled to partner with Imbesat and the Filo team.”
Vaibhav Domkundwar, Founder and CEO of Better Capital said, “Filo solves the most crucial “understanding problem” in education with a unique product experience that worked almost right away giving us instant validation on multiple fronts. I’ve been impressed with the quality of execution & am excited to see Filo continue to scale its platform to serve millions of students.”