International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has proposed an investment of $20 million into the new emerging markets fund of edtech-focused venture capital firm Learn Capital.
Learn Capital’s portfolio companies in Asia include Tencent-backed online education startup Udemy Inc; Indian edtech startup Springboard; online learning startup Coursera, which counts India as its second-largest market after the US; job matching site Kalibrr; and VIPKid, a platform that brings the US educators and elementary children in China together.
In a disclosure, IFC said it will initially be the sole limited partner in Learn Capital Venture Partners EM, an emerging markets-focused investment vehicle that will co-invest with specified investment funds of the Silicon Valley-headquartered firm.
The EM fund will focus on qualified portfolio companies that meet agreed-upon criteria. The criteria specified that the companies should not be engaged in the ownership or operation of K-12 schools and should be domiciled in emerging markets.
IFC earlier froze investments in K-12 private, free-charging schools in response to concerns by external stakeholders about the impact of private schools on education quality and access.
“IFC will initially be the sole limited partner in the EM fund but both IFC and learn will seek to mobilise other like-minded investors, including DFIs (development finance institutions),” IFC said.
It added that the fund will increase the availability of capital for technology-driven startups engaged in education and skills development in emerging markets, including geographies with limited access to venture capital.
The fund will also improve access to efficient training, upskilling, and employability-related education services as well as increase the competitiveness of key markets through innovative market-creating solutions.
Learn Capital, founded in 2008, focuses exclusively on education technology (edtech) investments largely in emerging markets. It is raising $200-250 million for its fourth fund – Learn Capital Venture Partners IV.
IFC also invested $15 million in a parallel fund that will invest alongside the Learn Capital Venture Partners IV. It was also the anchor investor in the firm’s Fund III, a $150-million fund with a specified emerging market focus and mandate.
Learn Capital invests in learning content, platforms, and services. Its debut fund, Learn Capital Venture Partners I, raised $50 million in 2012.