FrontRow Raises $3.2 Million In Seed Round

The round was led by Lightspeed, Elevation (SAIF Partners) and Deepika Padukone. The fundraise will be used to add more courses and categories, expand their community offering and go deeper into various course formats.

FrontRow, alearning and community platform focused on creative arts and sports, has raised a seed round of $3.2 million led by venture capital firms Lightspeed and Elevation (formerly SAIF Partners), along with Deepika Padukone’s Family Office. Founded by Mikhil Raj, Shubhadit Sharma and Ishaan Preet Singh earlier this year, FrontRow aims to help people learn from the very best and get better at their passion, be it music, comedy, cricket or anything else. 

FrontRow offers classes taught by the biggest celebrities in the field, paired with a community platform that gives learners regular activities, competitions and peer engagement to practice & showcase their talent. It’s first set of instructors include industry stalwarts such as Neha Kakkar, DIVINE& Gully Gang, Suresh Raina, Yuzvendra Chahal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. 

The founders who were executives in the startup ecosystem before coming together to start FrontRow, have now successfully curated a platform that is a 20-member strong multi-disciplinary team based in Bangalore and Mumbai. 

The company already has tens of thousands of beta users participating in their community groups pre-launch. According to Shubhadit, “A big part of learning is interacting with peers and mentors like we did in school and college, which is even more important in non-academic fields. Typically, these happen offline, on a cricket ground or in comedy clubs, but the vast majority of people don’t have access to these. In our communities we see users from across the country, with massive pull from small towns such as Shivpur, where a user actually set up their own comedy club.”

FrontRow’s vision is to make this knowledge accessible to a wide audience. Hence, even though the courses are developed over months of deep interaction with the celebrity instructors and created with movie level production quality to make them fun and engaging, the price points remain affordable. FrontRow will use this fundraise to add more courses and categories, expand their community offering and go deeper into various course formats.

“We’ve known this team for years and are extremely excited to back a team building a new paradigm for learning – a cross between learning, entertainment and community”, shared Akshay Bhushan, Partner at Lightspeed. “We’ve been early investors across these categories with Byju’s and Sharechat and believe that a solution needs to pick the best from all of them.”

Bringing A list instructors on board was a major milestone for the company, Mikhil adds, “Each one of them recalled that they faced problems while learning as well and they wished they had access to courses like this when they were starting out. The instructors are all extremely bought into the concept and we’re excited to have most of them as part of our captable as well.”

Commenting on her investment Deepika Padukone shared, “Growing up, I wasn’t exactly academically inclined. My interests lied in diverse spheres and activities outside of the traditional classroom- dance, sports, music, modelling & performance arts, to name a few. And if there’s one thing I wish I had access to while growing up, it would be a platform like ‘FrontRow’ - one that gives individuals access to abundant knowledge in non-academic fields as well as connects them to a community of peers and professionals in their field of interest.”

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