Exclusive: Varthana in talks to raise $50m in fresh funding

Photo: Reuters

Varthana, which specialises in providing debt financing to private schools, is planning to raise a fresh funding round of $50 million, said sources in the know of the development.

The Series D funding round is expected to be led by existing investors, and will also see participation from new investors. The company has also roped in Kotak Investment Banking to advise on fundraising, they said.

Varthana did not respond to an email seeking comment sent on Tuesday.

Operated by Bengaluru-based Thirumeni Finance Pvt. Ltd, Varthana raised an undisclosed amount in funding from C-Quadrat Asset Management (AM) this May. It raised Rs350 crore through a combination of a primary raise and secondary stake sales led by ChrysCapital, and existing investors including Kaizen Private Equity in April last year.

Varthana also counts Elevar Equity, LGT Venture Philanthropy, and Omidyar Network among its list of backers.

Set up by Brajesh Mishra and Steve Hardgrave in 2013, Varthana provides loans ranging from Rs5 lakh to Rs1 crore primarily to private schools catering to students from low-income households. The startup also assists schools in improving learning outcomes by bettering their teaching quality and technology.

Varthana has secured and unsecured loans outstanding to over 3,500 schools.

In April 2016, Varthana raised Rs93 crore ($14 million) in a Series B round of financing from Kaizen Private Equity, Zephyr Peacock India. The Series A round garnered Rs32 crore from former Credit Suisse banker Vikram Gandhi and Genpact Ltd founder Pramod Bhasin in 2015.

Varthana’s competitor, Indian School Finance Co. Pvt. Ltd (ISFC), is raising up to $30 million through a mix of equity and debt from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank group.

ISFC caters to affordable private schools, colleges, coaching centers, education SMEs and retail loans to teachers. It operates out of 155 locations across 15 states through a hub-and-spoke model and has over 345 employees as on 31st March 2019.

Another player operating in the space, Shiksha Finance, raised a Rs 55-crore funding round led by Zephyr Peacock India Growth Fund.