Private equity firm Lighthouse Funds is understood to be the leading contender for investing into Gurgaon-based education services firm iDiscoveri Education Pvt. Ltd which is in talks with PE firms to raise around $10 million, said sources familiar with the development. The deal is still in the making, added the source.

iDiscoveri helps schools develop curriculum through its programme called X-SEED and is also involved in corporate training. iDiscoveri also provides outdoor programmes for children through a separate company called Youreka and also runs some pre-schools.

Lighthouse invests in India through its $125-million India 2020 Fund. Emails sent to Lighthouse Funds and iDiscoveri remained unanswered at the time of posting this article. BMR Advisors is running the fundraising process.

iDiscoveri has been founded by former worldwide marketing director of Group Danone Ashish Rajpal. The X-seed initiative has expanded to more than 400 schools. It involves services like student curriculum, assessment, teacher education and instructional  leadership.

Education services sector continues to remain an attractive theme for PE players. This calendar year has already seen 16 deals worth $175 million till date, more than double the total investments of $88 million across five deals witnessed in the whole calendar 2009, according to VCCEdge, the financial research platform of VCCircle.

Most investments in the education sector have been in test preparation chains and vocational training, but investors are feeling these sectors are getting overheated with rising valuations. Private equity firms could now be looking at niche players in the education sector, who may have asset light but scalable models.

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