IFC may commit up to $20M in emerging markets-focused education fund

International Finance Corporation, private sector lending arm of the World Bank group, has said it may commit up to $20 million for an emerging markets-focused education fund namely Education Innovation Fund, which would make investments in early to mid-stage education companies.

The fund—Education Innovation Fund—will focus on companies that are located in emerging markets, or that have or will have substantial user base in emerging markets, including those that have already developed, tested and, in some cases, initiated the commercialisation of at least one innovative product and/or service in their home markets.

The venture capital fund is targeting $100-150 million, but final fund size may vary and will depend on the appetite from other institutional investors, IFC said in a disclosure.

IFC would come in as an anchor LP with its commitment in the form of a straight equity investment.

The fund will have an emphasis on global companies with a large potential impact on developing regions, especially Latin America. It would also back innovative local education companies based in emerging markets.

IFC said its Request for Proposal process attracted more than 50 potential fund managers and it selected Learn Capital, a venture capital fund focusing on investments in the education innovation and technology space, as the fund manager of the proposed fund.

Learn Capital was founded in 2008 with offices in San Mateo, California and elsewhere. It is a US-based early stage venture capital firm focused exclusively on the education technology sector. It currently has over $78 million assets under management and manages four funds. Its LP base include large cap global education companies like Pearson Plc and Benesse Holdings Inc and family trust investors with a history of significant education sector support and involvement.

Learn Capital targets both above-market venture returns and high social impact in education by investing and supporting companies, many of which are located in the US, but the firm also has relevant investment experience in emerging markets.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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