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Vivek Goyal, Dinesh Advani, 36, 36

co-founders, PlayShifu

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The one-time engineering batchmates and friends connected as new parents in 2016. They bonded over the difficulty of keeping kids away from technology and the lack of meaningful options when it came to games that struck the right balance of physical and digital as well as entertainment and learning. They sought solutions in augmented reality (AR) and were able to give children a tactile experience, adding a layer of digital interactivity to an app. Thus, PlayShifu was born. The co-founders raised seed capital from IDG Ventures and Parampara Capital in 2017. Since then, they have raised $24 million over two more rounds from investors such as Chiratae Ventures, Bharat Innovation Fund, Inflexor Ventures, and Inventus Capital. Today, PlayShifu is present in over 35 countries, with the U.S. being its largest market, and claims to have more than 625,000 users. The pandemic saw heightened interest in its toys and the startup recently nearly doubled the size of its team as it plans to expand its portfolio from 12 to 30 products by 2022, to cover over 20 early-learning skills.

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