Interesting niches in education continue to attract the alternative asset class. India Alternatives Investment Advisors Private Limited, sponsored by the promoter of Centrum Group Chandir Gidwani, has made its debut investment of Rs 28 crore in the education sector.  

The investment follows the creation of a platform by way of a merger between Frameboxx Animations, an animation training firm, and the Indian Institute of Financial Management (IIFM), which offers MBA programmes and vocational training in financial services.  The PE firm is investing in the combined entity, which will provide training and higher education courses in diverse fields ranging from media to financial services.

Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva, CEO of India Alternatives, said, in a statement, “The education sector in India is an $80-billion dollar opportunity. We have created this exclusive transaction by combining two players to form a unique platform in the education sector.” 

Talking to VCCircle, she said, the PE firm would hold a significant minority stake in the combined entity. She says, India Alternatives would look at opportunities in the higher education niches which focus on training for high employability. 

India Alternatives has also roped in Anjani Jain, Vice Dean of The Wharton School, to provide strategic guidance to portfolio companies in the education sector.

The Framboxx-IIFM merger will create an entity that will provide training and higher education in diverse fields including MBA, financial services as well as media and animation. It will have over 50 centres offering animation training and more than 20 offering vocational programmes in finance (wealth management, financial planning and insurance management) and a pan-India presence of MBA centres.  

Rajesh Turakhia, promoter of Frameboxx, said, “This is an exciting deal which allows Frameboxx to diversify into the fast-growing financial services sectors”.  Jagmohan Bhanver, promoter of IIFM said, “The existing international tie ups of IIFM and Frameboxx coupled with strong industry involvement in all the programmes will deliver world class education with high employability”. 

The venture capital and private equity industry have been keenly following recession-proof and non-cyclical themes particularly in the wake of the global economic slowdown. 

According to VCCircle’s Deal Outlook Survey conducted in December last year, 71% of the participants said, they wanted to invest in the education space this year. The sector has already seen some traction in terms of deals. 

The largest recent deal in this space has been PremjiInvest' investment of $43.32 million (about Rs 214 crore) in Manipal Universal Learning Pvt Ltd. Other ventures that got funded this year include Pathways World School, Resonance Eduventures Pvt Ltd, Speakwell English Academy, IL&FS Education & Technology Services Ltd and Career Point Infosystems Ltd.

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