AR-based toy startup PlayShifu raises $17 mn in Inventus-led Series B round

Early learning toy company PlayShifu has raised $17 million in a Series B fundraise from a clutch of investors led by Inventus Capital India with Inflexor Ventures joining as a new investor. Existing investors Chiratae Ventures and Bharat Innovation Fund also participated in the round. With this round, the company has so far raised a little over $25 million.

With this funding, the company plans to expand its product portfolio from 10 to 30 products to cover over 20 early-learning skills by 2022. It will also be utilising the funds for strengthening its India team and expanding to new countries for which it will hire mini teams around the world. Its products are currently available in 35 countries.

Founded by Vivek Goyal and Dinesh Advani in 2016, PlayShifu helps parents convert their children’s screen time into meaningful phygital play – the interaction of tactile toys with a digital device–combined with gamifying early learning skills.

“With screen time for children ages 4 to 9 averaging as high as five hours per day, we have a responsibility to help kids develop their early-learning skills in this digital age. Our products offer rich and variable content that engages children ten times better than the top 25 apps worldwide,” said Goyal.

It currently has three AR-based platforms namely Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto and a fourth voice-based platform in the pipeline which will be launched next year.

The company has seen its user base increase from 250,000 in 2019 to 600,000 in 2020. While Covid added tailwinds to the company in terms of sales, it lost opportunities as demand for learning products shot up by 3x with children locked in homes and seeking a source of educational learning and they could not ramp up production in time. “Currently we only have third party manufacturing capacity in Mumbai. By end of this year we will have multiple manufacturers in multiple cities for our products,” said Goyal.

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