Varthana Raises 27 cr to Lend to Schools

Bangalore-based Non-Bank Financial Company (NBFC), Thirumeni Finance Pvt Ltd, operating under the brand name Varthana, has successfully raised Rs 27 cr Series A round of financing led by new investor Omidyar Network along with existing investors LGT Venture Philanthropy (LGT VP) and Elevar Equity. 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. Varthana will close an additional Rs 5 cr from domestic investors in the coming months to bring the total Series A round size to Rs 32 cr.

Launched by Brajesh Mishra and Steve Hardgrave in 2013, Varthana provides loans to low cost private schools and educational institutions which serve India’s more than 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, which allow the company to operate efficiently and effectively. Varthana currently serves more than 300 schools in Karnataka and Maharashtra, and the additional capital will allow the company to extend its successful model to more than 15,000 schools throughout the country over the next four years. Commenting on the company’s progress to date, Brajesh Mishra, Founder and COO, Varthana, said “While we are extremely satisfied with our rapid growth, we are even more excited about the strong foundation we have laid in regard to systems and management. This will pave the way for much bigger things.”

“Varthana’s core loan offering enables affordable private schools to improve the quality of education and increase capacity to educate more children from low-income households. LGT VP is excited about the social impact potential of this model as its scale and strongly believes in Steve’s and Brajesh’s management ability to realize that potential. After having invested in the seed round in 2013, we are happy to continue being a part of this journey with further investment in Series A to enable the company to expand across other geographies”, says Inderpreet Singh, Head of LGT VP in India.

“Varthana is exactly the type of company we look for at Omidyar Network,” said Dimple Sanghi, Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. “With real vision and solid management, Varthana fills a critical market gap by providing much-needed financial services to affordable private schools, thereby transforming the lives of millions of Indian families. Varthana’s mission fits squarely into both the Financial Inclusion and Education Initiatives at Omidyar Network, and we are pleased to be part of its important work moving forward.”