Unitus Ventures looks to take advantage of the demand for quality education delivered at prices affordable to the masses in India and driven by entrepreneur innovators
Bangalore, July 31, 2014. Low-cost private education is poised to become a driving force in improving the lives at the base of the economic pyramid (“BoP”). The only way out of poverty is education – no one understands this better than a low-income Indian parent. As technology creates opportunity for disruptive innovation in education sectors, venture investments are picking up. Following this trend, Unitus Ventures has added a new venture partner to capitalize on the opportunities in education: Srikanth Iyer, formerly CEO of Pearson India. Unitus is also allocating 3 crore (USD 500,000) to make seed-stage investment in new India education companies in the second half of 2014.
|Srikanth Iyer joins USF as a venture partner; to invest in the education portfolio|
New Leadership: Srikanth Iyer
Recognizing the growing opportunity to find and support companies in the low-income education sector, Unitus has added a veteran education startup leader as a venture partner on our team: Srikanth Iyer. He leads our national efforts to invest in the best education companies that are scaleably serving low-income population. Srikanth was most recently the CEO at Pearson India. Previously, he co-founded Edurite Technologies, a leading e-content provider in the education space. Srikanth’s leadership bears testimony to the phenomenal growth story of Edurite, which he lead to acquisition by TutorVista; a global online tutoring company, and further acquisition by Pearson in 2011.
Srikanth commented “I am very excited to be involved with Unitus Ventures. I have always been impressed with their intent and clarity, I am looking forward to working with entrepreneurs and making a difference to Indian education serving the BoP.”
Increasing Seed Investments: 3 Crore to Education in 2014
To capitalize on the increased activity in BoP startups focused on education, Unitus Ventures is looking to complete 2-3 new education investments and has allocated up to three crore (USD 500,000) to invest over the remainder of 2014. We will source opportunities for investment through our existing proprietary channels and relationships, through our nine city roadshow, and through the new network that Srikanth Iyer brings us from his extended tenure as an education pioneer in India.
The types of companies we find to be most promising include those that have one more the following traits:
- Utilize low-cost mobile tech (smart phones, tablets) to support the education process
- Have highly efficient operations that can scale to low-income urban areas as well as rural areas
- Are capital-light, using existing infrastructure wherever possible
- Focus on augmenting skills where students have been left behind by traditional education (soft skills, technical skills, spoken English, etc.)