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Sundaram Finance backs online education loans marketplace GyanDhan

GyanDhan, an online marketplace for education loans operated by Delhi-based Senbonzakura Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, has secured an undisclosed amount from Sundaram Finance Holdings, a subsidiary of Chennai-based Sundaram Finance Ltd, it said in a statement.

GyanDhan, which was founded by IIT Kanpur alumnus Ankit Mehra and IIT Delhi graduate Jainesh Sinha in May 2016, facilitates loans for students aspiring to pursue studies abroad. It has tied up with Axis Bank and State Bank of India to offer loans, and takes a commission from the lenders. The company claims to have helped more than 250 students get education loans worth Rs 60 crore.

The platform had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs and Harvard Angels in July last year .

It had earlier received angel funding from Satyen Kothari, founder of Cube and Citrus Pay.

Sundaram Finance deals in retail finance with a presence in vehicle finance, home finance, mutual funds, general insurance and financial services distribution.

“We are already engaging with multiple startups with various types of engagement models – operational, financing and equity investments,” said Harsha Viji, deputy managing director, Sundaram Finance.

The group is looking to buy minority stakes in early-stage ventures for $1 million or less, though larger investments will be made where they are needed, it said.

The group is also planning to co-invest with venture capitalists and angel investors in this space.

In the same space, Chennai-based school financing company Shiksha Financial Services India Pvt. Ltd had received about Rs 6.7 crore ($1 million) from The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation along with Aspada Investment Company last year in November.

Other players in the segment are Delhi-based Indian School Finance Company Pvt. Ltd (ISFC) and Bangalore-based Thirumeni Finance Pvt. Ltd, which operates under the banner of Varthana.

While ISFC caters to private unaided schools, vocational colleges, coaching and tuition centres, Shiksha provides loans for asset creation, working capital and school fee in the education sector. Varthana offers loans to private schools that cater to the poor and the emerging middle class.

In September 2016, ISFC raised Rs 10 crore ($1.5 million) in funding from US-based impact investment firm Gray Matters Capital and its associate fund GrayGhost Ventures.

In April 2016, Varthana raised Rs 93 crore ($14 million) in its Series B round of financing led by Kaizen Private Equity and Zephyr Peacock India.


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