Good morning, it's Friday and we're finally at the end of the first week of 2021- and boy am I glad I have a couple days to chill after what has been a pretty insane week. And the we've got some drama today with a potential conflict of interest involving a popular Indian cricketer. Along with that, another EdTech companies raises a Series A.
http://bit.ly/35CcBCn: Virat Kohli's investment in MPL
➡️ I'm still slightly confused by what this really means, but in what could be a potential conflict of interest- it turns out Virat Kohli invested in the popular mobile gaming platform MPL in early 2019. The same company is now the new kit sponsor of the Indian cricket team.
➡️ At the start of 2020, Kohli was named as the brand ambassador of MPL. And later on in November, the BCCI announced the company as their new kit and merchandise partner. Incidentally, MPL was also one of the sponsors of Royal Challengers Bangalore during the recent IPL season (Virat Kohli is the captain of the team).
➡️ And to make matters even worse, Cornerstone Sport- which manages the commercial image rights of several Indian cricketers including Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and more. Now while Cornerstone claims the investment is completely above board, it does seem somewhat suspect. It seems like the BCCI, MPL or Virat haven't directly commented on the situation and I think we probably won't get one.
➡️ The BCCI does define a commercial conflict as one where, "an individual enters into endorsement contracts or other professional engagements with third parties, the discharge of which would compromise the individual’s primacy obligation to the game or allow for perception that the purity of the game stands compromised". And while I'm not entirely sure if Kohli's prior relationship with MPL compromises his performance on the pitch, it could have had an impact on the company becoming the team's sponsor.
http://bit.ly/2LqwcOt: Kyt raises $5M led by Alpha Wave Incubation
➡️ We're now in 2021 and EdTech is still going super strong. Fresh off their participation in Sequoia's Surge program, Kyt has announced a $5M Series A led by Alpha Wave Incubation with participation from Surge, January Capital, Titan Capital and several angel investors.
➡️ The company was founded by the former head of Uber Eats (India & South Asia). Kyt runs extracurricular courses online through a combination of live online classes and recorded material designed by curriculum experts for children aged 5-15.
➡️ The platform has a variety of courses ranging from Indian Classical Music to Yoga and even Chess (which has recently been surging in popularity). The company ties up with educators and experts in each of the fields it has courses in: eg: Indian GM Vidit Gujrathi and celebrity yoga instructor Sabrina Merchant.
➡️ And moving forward the company plans to expand into a couple more segments including speech and debate, spelling bee, and several musical instruments. And as a part of the fundraise, the company also plans to expand into the United States, UK and other global markets.
➡️ I do get the need for extracurricular activities for children especially in the pandemic stage. The company's product certainly seems targeted to the upper-middle class Indian whose children would usually attend these kinds of classes in person in the pre-pandemic era.
➡️ Growing up, I did several extracurricular activities (playing football for a club several times a week, and playing the drums)- and while some activities can be replicated, others can't. I still am not completely convinced that children like attending these kinds of courses online if they have the option of doing it in person, but I'm sure Kyt can always open up centers in popular cities.
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