Private equity firm Ashmore Alchemy India has invested Rs 33 crore for a minority stake in Pune-based vocational education firm SEED Infotech Ltd. The stake sold and therefore, the valuation of the company is not known.

SEED Infotech, co-founded by Narendra Barhate and Shrikant Rasane (both IIT-Mumbai passouts), is a vocational education company in western India. Incepted in 1994, it provides IT training services for both retail and corporate customer segments.

The company offers training in software development, software testing and infrastructure management services through its 35-plus retail centres. It claims to have trained over 300,000 students and professionals till date through its employability enhancement programmes. The company also offers training and staffing services to more than 300 leading IT companies in India.

The fund raised will be utilised to expand the company’s retail presence and create capabilities for high-end corporate training and staffing services. The company is also working on Internet-based hybrid training delivery platform for its hub-n-spoke growth model.

Post-investment, Gautam Saigal and Rahul Deshpande will join the board of SEED Infotech. Ernst & Young acted as the exclusive financial advisor to SEED Infotech for this deal.

The Indian education sector has witnessed 16 private equity investments worth a combined value of $126 million in the first 10 months of 2011. The trend indicates that such funding may surpass the transactions of 2010 – a total number of 22 deals worth $156 million, according to VCCedge, financial research platform of VCCircle.

While most recent investments in the education sector have been in test preparation, vocational training and school management firms, private equity firms are also looking at asset-light models, which maybe more knowledge-driven.

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