N R Narayana Murthy's Catamaran Ventures, which struck its investing debut with SKS Microfinance (India's first microfinance firm to go public), is making its second investment in Bangalore-based Ace Creative Learning Pvt Ltd, which provides educational support services to schools and colleges.

Accel Partners is the co-investor in the early stage investment round which will see both venture firms contributing Rs 2.5 crore each in Ace. This will be Accel's fourth investment in 2010.

When contacted, Accel India’s partner, Prashant Prakash confirmed the deal, but declined to divulge the transaction details. “We have decided to invest Rs 2.5 crore in Ace,” Prakash told VCCircle, adding that he can’t comment on the stake holding and other details. 

Catamaran’s Managing Director Arjun Narayan also confirmed the investment in an email to VCCircle.

Banglore–based, Academic Center for Excellence or Ace, founded in 1998 by Dr. Ganapathy Sridhar, offers comprehensive training for the IITJEE, AIEEE, PMPD, CBSE-11 & 12, CET, Foundation IIT and NTSE, according to its website.

Dr. G. Sridhar, who obtained his B. Tech from IIT Kharagpur in 1989 and Ph.D from The Johns Hopkins University, is supported by a team of 40 experienced faculty members which include graduates from the IIT, experienced retired professors from reputed institutes and doctorates from India & the US, the website said.

Catamaran Investments, with a fund size of $128.45 million, provides angel, early, late and mezzanine financing to incubate start-ups in India.

Catamaran’s initial major investment was $6.17 million (Rs 281.2 million) in Hyderabad based SKS Microfinance Ltd.  Post transaction, Catamaran holds 1.3% stake in the microfinance company, which has been in the eye of a storm following recent events such as the sacking of its CEO and the overall uncertainty in the business environment in Andhra Pradesh.

Accel India  has done at least 25 transactions in the last four years in both seed and early stage investments. Some of its investments include $2.5-million investment in Rx Healthcare Magic Pvt Ltd in February 2009, $0.42 million in Flipkart in October last year and $0.56 million in Mitra Biotech April this year. 

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