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US-based education major Kaplan Inc. has established a venture capital unit which would target investments in areas including India. Kaplan, which is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company, said in a release that it has set up Kaplan VC, LLC as a subsidiary. The unit will look at investments in new learning technologies and online business models in the K12, higher education, test preparation, and professional compliance areas.

Kaplan VC will initially focus on U.S. and European investments and will also invest in international education opportunities especially in Latin America, the Middle East and India. Kaplan VC expects to acquire minority interests in about a half-dozen companies over the

next 12 months.

This development comes as private equity and venture capital interest in the Indian education sector has already reached new highs with an increasing interest from PE players. This calendar year has already seen nine deals worth $139 million in less than six

months, 58% higher than the total investments of $88 million across five deals witnessed in the whole calendar 2009, according to VCCEdge, the financial research platform of VCCircle.

Kaplan Chief Executive Andrew Rosen told Dow Jones News Wire that the VC unit would invest between $500,000 and $10 million in companies. Kaplan VC has not defined an outlay for the fund.

Kaplan provides higher education programs, professional training courses, test preparation materials, among others. It had revenues of $2.6 billion in 2009.

Indian education technology companies could also be on the radar of Kaplan. Major Indian companies in this area include Educomp Solutions and Everonn, which are listed on the NSE and BSE. Several e-learning and education technology firms have also raised private equity venture capital funding in the country.

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