We invest in Varthana
Financing the Growth of India’s Affordable Private Schools
Founded in 2013, Varthana is a regulated Non-Bank Financial Company (NBFC) that seeks to bridge the education financing gap for low income populations by financing the growth of India’s Affordable Private Schools.
The benefits of APS are clear; in addition to being affordably priced, they are based in local communities, which is convenient for parents who cannot afford local transportation. Most also offer classes in English. Today, 200,000 Affordable Private Schools in India educate approximately 92 million students (around 30% of all school-aged children in the country).1
Varthana’s loans and insurance products enable APS to finance improvements like campus expansions and renovations, teacher training, the purchase of computers, and the development of new learning programs. The company also offers a digital fee collection tool, as well as financial consulting solutions, and supplementary educational programs, like worksheets and videos for Math and English.
The typical Varthana borrower operates a school that charges $5 to $25 per month in fees. To date, Varthana has financed nearly 4,500 schools and today educates more than three million students and employs more than 100,000 teachers.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Affordable Private Schools in India
India has one of the largest school systems in the world, but government-mandated school closures in response to the pandemic persisted for a longer period of time relative to other countries.
Under-resourced APS were particularly hard-hit.
Many lacked the infrastructure and financial capacity to seamlessly switch to providing its students with online education. Furthermore, many parents could not afford a laptop to support online learning programs, and others were reluctant to pay for tuition to schools that were not physically open.
To support its borrowers during this period, Varthana extended moratoriums and working capital to schools in need. The company also provided non-financial support through its “Unlock Schools Program” for families that could not afford or did not have access to a computer, supplying worksheets to school owners, teachers, and parents for English and Math. Varthana also advocated for schools to adopt online fee collection software as the majority of APS fee collection is still obtained through cash. They also implemented enhanced engagement programs with students’ parents, many of whom found online classes to be ineffective.
Despite short term challenges, Varthana’s school owners remain optimistic about the long-term outlook of their sector. Many are (slowly but steadily) adopting digital solutions, implementing uninterrupted learning models, and enhancing parent engagement to offset any unforeseen events that could impact their schools in the future.
Learn more about how COVID-19 impacted these schools and how they overcame
challenges to continue to provide quality education to their students.
Providing New Possibilities to Students through Modern, Uninterrupted Learning
A Teacher Turned School Owner Turns to Varthana for Expansion Financing
The portfolio company profiled here is for educational purposes only and may not represent all of the portfolio holdings. It should not be assumed that investments in the company identified and discussed were or will be profitable. The companies profiled were selected based on their financial inclusion and impact with no reference to amount of profits or losses, realized or unrealized.