Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s PayTM has acqui-hired (or buying out a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff) edtech (Education & Technology) startup Earth Education Valley. The startup runs an online education platform, EduKart, which is based out of Delhi.

The entire team, including the founders of EduKart, will be joining PayTM. Ishan Gupta, the founder of Edukart, will be taking up the charge of the merchant department at PayTM. EduKart is also expected to have a separate strategic sale.

While the value of the purchase has not been disclosed, PayTM did confirm the development. Speaking of the development, Kiran Vasireddy, Sr. Vice President, Paytm said:

“The team at EduKart has built a unique education services platform in a short time and has an in-depth understanding of customer needs. We welcome the EduKart team to be a part of our journey. This move will further strengthen our efforts to build services faster and drive growth in this sector.”

EduKart was founded in the year 2011 by Ishan Gupta and Mayank Gupta, it is an online marketplace that aggregated K 12, degree, diploma and certificate courses, besides coaching for entrance examinations. It helps in applying to online, distance and correspondence degree and diploma courses like MBA, Executive MBA, PGDM, MCA, MSc, IT, MA, MCom, BBA, BCA, BA, BCom, BSc IT and more.

EduKart which claims to have more than 10,000 paying students with an aim to enroll 100,000 students in the next three years. It even aggregates courses offered by other education technology start-ups such as Byju’s, Simplilearn, Edureka and Toppr, coaching institutes such as Aakash Institute, Vidyamandir Classes and Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Annamalai University and a few others.

ALSO READ: Startup Pitch deck of unicorns.

Before founding Edukart, Ishan Gupta worked with One97 Communications, Paytm’s parent firm, between October 2009 and March 2011. Talking about the deal, Ishan Gupta said, “I am super excited to be back at Paytm to build a large bouquet of service offerings for the merchants on Paytm. And I am happy that the strong team of EduKart is now open to new opportunities as a part of that journey.”

2016 is turning out to be a bullish year for edtech startups with a number of startups raising huge sums. Some of the big deals in the domain include BYJU’s who raised $50 Mn in funding led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), along with Sequoia Capital. Another noticeable funding came for highly rated Bangalore-based Unacademy which raised $1Mn in the second round of external funding.

The signs were always there that edtech is the next domain investors are looking at. The multiple funding rounds just proves it. Interesting times lie ahead for the edtech startups. Keep a check on this space for more.

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