- Startup Stories

Pursuing your passion is a fundamental human need- The story of FrontRow to the success of earning $3.2 million Seed funding

Deepika Padukone stated, “If there’s one thing I wish I had access to when I was growing up, it would be a platform like FrontRow, which links individuals to a community of peers and professionals in their field of interest and offers them access to copious information in non-academic subjects.” FrontRow, an edtech firm with high-profile investors, seeks to make non-academic learning accessible and cheap for small-town Indians.

The Motivation to Glorify Passion

Despite the fact that the education industry witnessed a significant shift towards online learning during the epidemic, many students continued to forego extracurricular activities. FrontRow, founded in 2020 by Shubhadit Sharma, Mikhil Raj, and Ishaan Preet Singh, is targeting the market for extracurricular activities by offering lessons from Indian superstars in gaming, music creation, singing, rap, comedy, and cricket.

Ishaan Preet Singh, Mikhil Raj, and Shubhadit Sharma, the co-founders of FrontRow, were “looking at the education area” when they started the company. Mikhil Raj headed consumer product at ZestMoney, Shubhadit Sharma was VP Engineering at Glowroad with prior experience with Oyo, Vahan, and Finomena, and Ishaan Preet Singh was an investor at Lightspeed and a consultant at McKinsey. Their interactions with the students revealed a similar thread. They did, however, acquire a more intriguing insight. There is a severe lack of opportunities in non-academic sectors such as sports, cinema, music, and humour. And, that is what they set out to solve with FrontRow.

FrontRow offers skill-based online courses by top celebrities

FrontRow is a learning and social networking platform that allows students to pursue their non-academic interests and hobbies. Learners have access to peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration possibilities on the site in addition to mentorship from professional experts and celebrities. In addition to having access to the video courses both offline and online, FrontRow members may take part in daily challenges and activities with celebrity judges, receive comments and advice from mentors, and participate in community learning. Multi-camera setups, high-quality visuals, and statistics, according to the Bengaluru-based firm, are “Netflix-like.”

FrontRow Raises $3.2 Mn Funding

The business, which was founded only 9 months ago and is modelled after America’s MasterClass, claims to have 50K+ paying learners in 2000+ places across the world. In November, FrontRow secured $3.2 million in a seed round headed by Lightspeed, Elevation, and Deepika Padukone’s Family Office. Eight Roads Ventures, GSV, and previous investors Lightspeed and Elevation Capital led a $14 million Series A investment for the non-academic edtech firm. FrontRow’s product offer was verified, and the vocational learning component of edtech was brought into clear focus as a result of the investments. FrontRow launched five courses last month after pre-launch beta testing with tens of thousands of participants. FrontRow has roped in top talent from the creative and tech industries to develop content. Its producers have fronted award-winning shows.

A cross between learning, entertainment, and community

According to estimates, India has 130 million drama school applicants, aspiring singers, dancers, wannabe cricketers, and stand-up comedians per year. FrontRow is pursuing this big growing market, which it believes will define education technology in the coming decade. “In India, the early phase of the internet revolution was about meeting basic necessities like roti, kapda, and makaan. You have ecommerce, K-12, exam preparation, food delivery, mobility, and so on. The following phase will cater to slightly higher-order demands, such as hobby learning. FrontRow also has a community component to its service, allowing users to take part in activities, live events, challenges, and contests.

Future Plans

FrontRow aspires to provide a democratic platform for learning. Each course is priced at Rs 500 and comprises of 15 to 25 video sessions. The website now has five categories — ‘Singing’ by Neha Kakkar, ‘Comedy’ by Biswa Kalyan Rath, ‘Batting’ by Suresh Raina, ‘Bowling’ by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and ‘Spin Bowling’ by Yuzvendra Chahal — with two more set to launch in December. While figures aren’t available yet, the business claims to be on the rise and is well-capitalized to “double down on expansion” in 2021.

In addition to the current direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel, FrontRow will aim to tap into new growth channels like as B2B collaborations as it develops its courses. The firm intends to utilise the cash to expand to 10+ categories and 300+ courses by 2022, from its current 7 categories. The company will also put money into its personnel and product. Front Row has your back when it comes to conquering your passion, whether it’s singing, comedy, cricket, rap, or music creation.

About Azba Rehman

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