CBA Capital on Thursday announced the launch of its second Rs. 100 crores early stage education and skilling impact fund, Education Catalyst Fund (ECF),targeting pre-series A, Series A & B equity rounds in companies focused on education and skilling solutions.
ECF's mission is to support 15 entrepreneurs dedicated to providing solutions for educating and skilling individuals and professionals primarily in the low-income segment - defined as households earning less than USD 12 per day.
"We are excited to launch a first of its kind, multi-LP venture capital fund seeking to support and participate in the single largest human potential opportunity on the planet: the Indian Education Industry," said managing partner ECF, Vishal Bharat.
"Only a fraction of all venture capital funding is going to the education sector but the long term impact an investment in this sector can make is exponential. We aren't just talking about the financial returns from a 10-year fund; we're talking about changing the trajectory of a society by impacting the entire learning eco-system in India. With the support and commitment we have from our LPs, strategic network and co-investment partners: we believe appropriately applied technology solutions are going to transform the entire education sector," added Bharat.
ECF is a small Rs. 100 crores fund registered under the SEBI AIF Category II jurisdiction. Its marquee investors include Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Gray Matters Capital both U.S. based international investors in the education sector. The first close was announced in early 2017 and the final close is expected in the first half of 2018.
In conjunction with the first close of its fund, ECF announced investments in its first three companies: Simulanis, Kopykitab and Buddy4Study, all early stage companies using technology to disrupt traditional business models. The total commitment in these three companies is approximately Rs. 15 crores.
Simulanis, a New Delhi based firm, is the first company in the ECF portfolio that transforms training programs in corporates and institutions into interactive Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality (AR/VR) modules that help users quickly assimilate and apply new concepts and procedures.
Kopykitab, a Bangalore based firm, offers a digital textbook platform that converts all traditional textbooks or publications onto a tablet or desktop where the student/reader can not only see the text digitally, but can also access embedded multimedia and reference content. The platform has some unique attributes such as the capability to annotate notes and then share them with a broader study group. The company plans to roll out a fully interactive platform for adaptive learning in the coming quarters.
Buddy4Study, a Noida based company, is expected to be ECF's third investment and has developed technology based solutions for students to manage their scholarship applications. Through their online scholarship management system students can find, screen, apply and track their performance for India based scholarships. The same platform can be used by scholarship sponsors to list, market, screen, fund and track applicants.
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