Education Catalyst Fund (ECF) raises US$ 20 million in a funding round led by Gray Matters Capital and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

New Delhi: Fund Manager, CBA Capital, has successfully completed the first close of Education Catalyst Fund, a USD 20 Million onshore fund, focused on supporting edtech companies that offer solutions to low income families in the education, and jobs & livelihoods areas. ECF is an onshore fund established under the Alternate Investment Fund Category II scheme of the Securities & Exchange Board of India. It is also the first multi-investor fund to focus exclusively on affordable education and jobs & livelihoods opportunities in the country. The investors include Gray Matters Capital (GMC), Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, India and a few private investors in India.

ECF is structured as an 8-year close-ended fund aimed at supporting companies in the early part of their lifecycle with seed and series A stage investments. ECF aims to support around 15 companies during the eight-year period and these companies are expected to touch over one million low income households over their lifetime.

Over the past 3 years, CBA Capital has established a deep understanding of the space working with young edtech companies through “India Education Investment Fund” (IEIF), a proprietary fund of Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. IEIF focuses exclusively on early stage, high quality, affordable education and skilling solutions targeted at urban low-income families. It has seed funded six young companies till date (Oliveboard, ChipperSage, GuruG, Report Bee, School Mitra and Select Jobs) that have demonstrated strong traction in scaling up their businesses.

Speaking about ECF, Geeta Goel, Vice President, Mission Investing at Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, said, “Over the years, we have seen that the foundation’s impact can be expedited through high quality market based solutions that show demonstrable improvements in education and employment levels of our target segment. Our strategy of supporting early stage companies through funds is geared towards catalyzing such solutions, and then nurturing them to scale and sustainability. We were pleased to see the traction in IEIF, and decided to continue our support to CBA Capital in setting up a larger, multi-investor fund.”

Ragini Chaudhary, CEO, Gray Matters Capital India said, “GMC believes that investing in education and supporting young entrepreneurs is a powerful pathway to achieving impact at scale. ECF is focused on education and skilling – two of the most important ingredients for harvesting the demographic dividend of the country. We are excited about the potential of bringing positive change in the lives of low income families across India.”

“The Edtech space presents an exciting investment opportunity, especially when its benefits can be reaped by all, irrespective of their economic levels, in a vast country like India. The potential of serving customers with varied vernacular needs, differing economic situations and high aspirations is ripe for market-based interventions,” said Vishal Bharat, Managing Director at CBA Capital.