Gurgaon-based School of Hospitality India Pvt. Ltd, which was founded by industry veteran Dilip Puri, has raised Rs 25.2 crore ($3.8 million) from a group of high net-worth individuals, in its first ever round of external funding.
The company, which has entered into a strategic partnership with Lausanne Hospitality Consulting, a Swiss knowledge development and management advisory company, will use the money to develop the first phase of the Indian School of Hospitality, which is slated to open in August 2018.
“I am delighted to have an investor group comprising some of the best known names in the hospitality and real estate industry,” said Puri, the former managing director and regional vice-president of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, South Asia, and the founder and chief executive officer of School of Hospitality India.
Lemon Tree Hotels chairman Patu Keswani, who is one of the investors in the venture, said: “Indian School of Hospitality’s offering is well-timed given the rapidly-increasing demand for talent solutions in our industry. The team of professionals led by Dilip Puri are committed to bringing international standards of hospitality education to India.”
Client Associates was the investment adviser to the transaction.
“Our academic partnership with the leading Swiss hospitality education brand will give us a distinctive edge in the market. The business has tremendous scalability and expansion opportunities across hospitality management, culinary and executive education as well as skill development and online education,” said Puri.
The company is planning to expand the Gurgaon campus to house 1,000 students within the next two years. As part of its future plans, it intends to develop campuses in south and west India, besides setting up skill development centres for tourism and hospitality in Tier II and III cities.
The Indian hospitality education space has a regulator in National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Tourism. It overseas academic activities across 21 central government- and 21 state government-sponsored institutes, besides 15 private and seven food craft institutes in the country. It is, however, not necessary for all private institutions to get affiliated with the council.
State government-sponsored institutes of hotel management at Silvassa, Hamirpur, Gangtok and Kurukshetra are among the top institutions in the country.
Private institutions in the hospitality space have not received much investor interest of late. The most important deal in recent memory, however, is the 2015 acquisition of hotel management institute Ecole Hoteliere at Lavasa, which was part of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, by Bengaluru-based real estate company The Expat Group for an undisclosed amount.