Varthana, an education-focused fintech platform, has recently raised $7 million (approximately INR 56 crore) in a debt funding round from MicroVest, US-based global investment firm by issuing non-convertible debentures. The Bangalore-based startup will use the funds for transforming affordable education in rural India and providing loans to affordable private schools on a pan-India basis. The funding will also strengthen its aim of aiding and supporting affordable schools to recover from the disruptions caused by COVID-19, according to the company’s statement.
Founded in 2013 by Brajesh Mishra and Hardgrave, Varthana is a non-banking finance company (NBFC) that offers credit to students and low-budget private schools. Essentially, it caters to the needs of affordable private schools through financial support and academic support (via implementation of digital learning tools and teaching methods).
Varthana has so far disbursed more than 15,000 loans across 15 states and union territories of the country. It claims to have helped more than 8,500 schools in expansion and renovation. It has also partnered around 750 student loan institutes across the country.
Commenting on the fundraising, Co-founder & CEO of Varthana, Steve Hardgrave, said:
MicroVest has been our long-term investment partner working towards the cause of providing access to quality education in India. The low-budget schools in which we invest are counting on inclusive financial services to get back to business, following the unprecedented challenges faced during the pandemic. With the support of MicroVest, Varthana is now in a stronger position to play a constructive role in aiding these affordable schools.
With a presence in more than 11,000 pin codes through 40 branches and 150 spokes, the startup touts itself as the fastest growing student loan company in India. The platform’s loans are custom-built to suit the wide range of projects that help school leaders unlock their school’s potential, as well as for college-going students to achieve their educational goals. The company aims to understand and address the challenges that school leaders face on a daily basis and help them realize their full potential. It also supports students in excelling in their studies and achieving their dream careers.
Chief Executive Officer of MicroVest, Joshua Moraczewski, added:
MicroVest is proud to support Varthana on its mission to help low-income students and their families in India access quality education. We are committed to supporting Responsible Financial Institutions like Varthana. During this challenging post-COVID environment, their efforts are more important than ever.
In 2017, Varthana raised $3 million from Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Prior to that, it had raised Rs 93 crore in its Series B round led by Kaizen Private Equity and Zephyr Peacock India. Its existing investors, Elevar Equity, LGT Venture Philanthropy and Omidyar Network had also participated in 2016.