Fintech tuition app Zenda has announced it has raised $9.4 million in a funding round with participation from STV, COTU, Global Founders Capital and VentureSouq. Zenda is currently addressing tuition payment issues, specifically the lack of convenience and flexibility in payment options for parents and poor payment collection for schools. The funds will be used for product development and market expansion in India.
With approximately $70 billion processed annually in fee payments to private educational institutions in India, $37 billion in the GCC and $34 billion in the rest of the Middle East and Africa, the market is important, but largely untapped. The payment of school fees in schools (nursery – K12 – tertiary) is considerably non-digital, and even digital, cumbersome, manual and expensive. In addition, the majority of families receive monthly income, but fee payments are usually quarterly or semi-annually, causing cash flow problems for parents and delays in collection for schools.
Using Zenda, families can track dues and make payments with a host of immediate and later payment options, and unlock rewards for paying on time. Zenda integrates with schools through its proprietary data model and APIs (much like zapier) and eliminates last mile reconciliation challenges and delays.
Zenda was founded in June 2021 by Raman Thiagarajan and Haseeb Ahmed, alumni of McKinsey & Company, where Raman led the firm’s financial services practice in the MENA region. Zenda is the founders’ second start-up and leverages the insights and deep insights of their previous successful ed-tech venture.
Zenda CEO and Founder Raman Thiagarajan said, “Over the past few months in India, we have built a pipeline of over 1,000 institutions and we are extremely grateful for their trust. It is gratifying to see the response from parents and to see how they have embraced our service. Zenda schools are seeing a systematic increase in their collections.
After its initial launch in the United Arab Emirates, Zenda launched entry and operations in India in Q3 2021; zenda has witnessed strong market traction with schools and families. It has grown its user base 20x since June 2021 and surpassed $100 million in annual contracted POS volume by Q4 2021, in both markets.
With over 40 team members now, and 2/3 in India, the team has grown rapidly, operating from Bangalore, Kochi, Delhi and Dubai. Zenda’s success is also attributed to the team’s expertise and in-depth knowledge of how educational institutions operate, right from their first venture.
Ihsan Jawad, General Partner of STV, said, “Raman, Haseeb and the team have identified a compelling gap in the market and in supporting families on a topic close to their hearts. Seeing their strong traction over the past few months, we couldn’t be more excited about Zenda. India and the GCC represent a market of over $100 billion for private tuition fees. They have built an outstanding team and we look forward to working with them to help zenda achieve its mission.