Online learning institute Harappa Education announced it has completed a round of funding from James Murdoch-led Lupa Systems. This marks Lupa Systems' first-ever investment in India. The investment will be used by Harappa to accelerate product development, invest in high-quality curriculum creation, build a rich learning experience, and significantly scale its presence across corporates and campuses throughout India.
Founder and Chairman, Harappa Education, Pramath Raj Sinha, stated, “I am looking forward to a strong partnership with James and his team. We have been struck by their belief in and enthusiasm for our mission. Their validation is a tremendous source of strength for us and fuels our passion to drive transformational learning outcomes at scale.”
The investment gives Lupa Systems a majority stake and secures Harappa’s growth plans for the next three years.
Founder, Lupa Systems, James Murdoch said, “The potential in India is as enormous as ever, and it continues to energize me. I am excited to help realize the inspiring vision Harappa has to become a preeminent online learning institution with a curriculum that is both foundational and unique. Pramath’s passion and track record of establishing pioneering higher education institutions set us up well to build a unique enterprise.”
Democratizing high-quality learning for all
Established in 2018 by founders Pramath Raj Sinha and Shreyasi Singh, who will continue to lead and build the company, Harappa Education is an online institution that aims to become a necessary and high-quality learning destination for all young professionals, regardless of their area of specialization.
The institution offers a curriculum of 5 Habits and 25 Skills, delivered through an engaging online-first approach, addresses a core gap in education: the cognitive (how to think, reason and problem- solve), social (how to communicate, influence and build relationships) and behavioural (how to grow, act and lead) skills that employers crave at the workplace. Harappa aims to enable learning of these life skills at scale, leveraging the most innovative digital learning technologies and online pedagogical tools.
The institution draws inspiration from the ancient Indian civilization that was well ahead of its time. Evocative of the foundational character of the Harappan civilization, Harappa aims to go back to basics in the learning it imparts but combines it with the latest technology to educate at scale. Its pedagogical approach is rooted in academic research, expert insights and behavioural science.
Currently, more than 2,000 learners are registered on Harappa, and both the numbers of partners and learners is growing rapidly every month. The institution is working with 9 corporates, including leading brands across IT services, FMCG and financial services; and 8 university partners, including a Top 10 engineering campus, two Top 10 management institutions and several fellowships for young change-makers. The number of faculty numbers exceeds 60 individuals.
Over the next five years, it has an ambitious goal of becoming India's largest online learning institution with more than 250,000 learners. Which is where the investment from Lupa Systems will come handy. Founder & CEO, Harappa Education Shreyasi Singh believes that the partnership with Lupa Systems brings invaluable experience in mainstreaming new content-led ideas and building them into global businesses, which is what the company expects to build in the coming years.
Customized learning journeys: The Future
For, Lupa Systems, a private investment vehicle founded by James Murdoch in 2019, with presence in New York and Mumbai, the investment in Harappa follows its investment in other content platforms such as Tribeca Enterprises, Vice Media and The Void, among others.
In particular, the investment in Harappa comes as its offering fulfil a long-standing gap in the Indian education-that of customized learning journeys. Learning is undergoing a sea change with rapid advancements in technology. According to the LinkedIn study ‘Future of Skills 2019’ report for the Asia Pacific region, 82 percent Indian professionals feel that the skills needed to succeed are changing rapidly. The report also found that 45 percent Indian employees left organizations because of the lack of L&D opportunities.
This shows there is much that is desired from organizations to bridge this learning gap. And traditional pedagogical methods will not suffice to fulfil these expectations. Customized learning journeys and engaging learning experiences that offer strong learning outcomes are thus the need of the hour. Current trends suggest both a growing budget for L&D as well as a huge demand for workplace skills.
It is this need that Harappa Education aims to fulfil as it pursues its ambition to become a sought-after learning institution in its own right and offer behaviour training at scale, which is what Lupa Systems is banking upon. How this pans out will be interesting to watch out given the dynamic changes taking place in the learning landscape in the country.