GyanDhan, an education financing marketplace, has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs with participation from Harvard Angels, and other individual investors including Pravin Gandhi, Partner- Seedfund Advisors in his personal capacity. GyanDhan had earlier received angel funding from Satyen Kothari, founder of Cube and Citrus Pay, to fund operations from the concept phase to their first loan disbursal. The startup provides students an option to apply for loans up to Rs 30 lakhs without any collateral for higher education abroad. GyanDhan was founded by 2 IIT alumni Ankit Mehra and Jainesh Sinha, both of whom spent 5+ years working for Capital One, a leading American Bank.

Ankit during the course of his higher studies at IESE Barcelona came across several Indian students who were denied loans by Indian financial institutions and had to sell their ancestral properties to finance their studies. This inspired him to start GyanDhan, a place where Indian students, seeking high value loans can get a fair chance of being funded.

Indian students spend $14bn abroad annually with bank financing contributing less than 5% to it. “Banks have been reluctant to participate in education loans market due to high NPA levels. As a result, higher education remains a privilege of the rich and contributes to an ever increasing disparity rather than being the great leveler it was supposed to be. We seek to expand and equalize access to higher education through our proprietary models that helps bank assess employability of students and help them make better decisions. ” adds Jainesh, who moved to India last year to start GyanDhan. Jainesh is also an alumnus of Super 30.

The company started operations in May’16. It has partnered with financial institutions to provide education loans for higher studies. The team works closely with the students and the banks to ensure quick resolution of the application. “We realized that lack of transparency in the entire process often resulted in a lot of angst amongst the students, and decided to partner with a few banks to maintain high levels of customer service".

Paula Mariwala, Co-President, SA&E said, “Lack of availability of funding from the Indian financial institutions is one of the key hindrances faced by students pursuing higher studies. Most times, either the banks ask for very high ratio of collaterals or the loan processing takes a long time. GyanDhan’s merit-based lending that accounts for the potential of the student, and an approach that engages the student rather than viewing them as a pure transaction will provide the much needed alternative for education loan.”

The company has processed over 2500 applications to date, and has already helped students avail loans worth INR 10cr through these financing institutions. ‘We expect that the remaining applications will be processed soon and expect to sanction over INR 30cr in loans by the end of this year.’ adds Jainesh.

Ankit Mehra, co- founder, GyanDhan said, "We will use these funds to build the tech platform to provide a better experience for both the banks and the students and to further develop our data sciences capabilities .We will be rolling out new loan product offerings catering to the underserved pockets in domestic education over the next 12 months."

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