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Elevar Capital, Omidyar Network lead funding to Varthana

Raghuvir Badrinath  |  Bangalore 

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, has made an investment in Bangalore-based Thirumeni Finance, which focuses on lending to schools catering to the low-income population. The investment was made through Omidyar Network and Elevar Capital, another social venture capital fund.

Thirumeni Finance operates under the brand name Varthana. With this funding ( of Rs 27 crore) from three funds, including from existing investor LGT Venture Philanthropy of Switzerland, the non-banking financial company will be able to leverage three times up to Rs 100 crore over the next 18 months to expand the lending operations. Varthana is also looking to raise an additional Rs 5 crore of equity from domestic investors in the coming months to bring the total Series-A round to Rs 32 crore.

Varthana is Elevar's first investment from its new fund - an investment that followed the incubation support it provided in 2012. LGT Venture Philanthropy added to its 2013 seed investment, a round that was also supported by Accion Venture Lab. This is Omidyar Network's first investment in the company.

Launched by Brajesh Mishra and Steve Hardgrave in 2013, Varthana provides loans to low-cost private schools and educational institutions, which serve India's 400 million student-age population. Loans are typically used to improve school quality and expand capacity.

"We are honoured to serve the incredible women and men who provide affordable, quality education to India's low and middle income families. Our goal is to support these education entrepreneurs as they continue to grow their institutions," said Steve Hardgrave, founder and CEO, Varthana.

Varthana has developed replicable sector-specific systems and processes, and currently serves more than 300 schools in Karnataka and Maharashtra, and the additional capital will allow it to extend its model to more than 15,000 schools throughout the country over the next four years.

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First Published: Thu, September 11 2014. 00:42 IST
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