Gray Matters Capital (GMC), an impact investor with a gender lens focused on enterprises working to improve access to affordable quality education and employability in India, has today announced that it has decided to sell its entire 81.92% stake in Delhi based Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) - Indian School Finance Company (ISFC), which provide finance and loans to educational institutes & entrepreneurs. The entire stake will be sold to Manappuram Finance Ltd., which is one of the leading gold finance NBFCs in India, based out of Kerala. Caspian, an impact focused investor which has advised ISFC since its inception will also exit the Company, selling its 3.48% stake.

The Sellers and ISFC have entered into binding agreements with Manappuram Finance Ltd. and the deal, which values the 100% equity shares of ISFC at INR 248.50 crore, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

ISFC is a NBFC engaged in the business of lending to educational institutions and entrepreneurs managing such institutions. It is the first company in the world to exclusively fund education institutions. The company is widely recognized and appreciated in the education segment for its impact on schools and focus on improvement in quality of education. The objective of ISFC is to assist the Schools and other education institutions in capacity building through infrastructure improvements, thereby enabling students to access quality education

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP acted as exclusive financial advisor and Wadia Ghandy & Co. acted as legal advisor to Gray Matters Capital, Caspian and ISFC.

Incubated in 2009 by Gray Matters Capital, ISFC is the first company in the world to exclusively fund education institutions to meet their infrastructure requirements and the first niche financier to affordable private schools (APS) in India. It had raised $ 6 million as part of Series A funding from Gray Matters Capital in October 2016.

ISFC Loan Portfolio : Quantifying the GMC Investment Impact

  • ISFC has assets under management (AUM) of INR 522.59 crore as of 31 March 2018. Currently ISFC serves over 2.6 million students through 4,000+ institutional clients.

  • It has a country-wide footprint spanning 116 locations across 15 states through a hub and spoke model and with 300+ employees.

  • 79% of customers run affordable private schools with monthly fees under Rs.1200

  • 23% of borrowers are women

  • 20% of all loans made to schools in rural areas

  • 2600 loans made to teachers with low salaries

  • Besides educational institutional loans for infrastructure, the loan portfolio has been diversified to loans for ecosystem players in education (book publishers, content companies, computer providers, stationery vendors, furniture providers, uniform providers etc.) and student education loans under the ‘Shishya Finance’ scheme.

Recounting the genesis of ISFC, Bob Pattillo, Founder, Gray Matters Capital said, “We’ve been funding loans to women in India for 17 years. 9 years ago we asked our clients how they invested their savings and they said “Education”. They took us to see their neighbourhood schools run by entrepreneurs. Since the mothers were good consumers, we believed that their kids might be, and an industry was born."

ISFC AND ISFC spinoff VARTHANA together serve 90% of the market in India.

“With ISFC, Gray Matters Capital pioneered the private school finance sector in India. With our investment in ISFC, we enabled a dynamic ecosystem of borrowers and lenders in the private school sector with its focus on quality and access, underscoring our credence of being ecosystem investors”, said Ragini Bajaj Chaudhary, India CEO, Gray Matters Capital.

“ISFC was able to demonstrate that affordable private schools can be a bankable and high impact asset class. With affordable private schools flourishing, the entire ecosystem of products and services to improve education outcomes has evolved. The expectation is that all of these initiatives will enable inter-generational impact.” said Ravi Narasimham, Investment Director at Caspian Impact Investment Adviser.

Neeraj Sharma, Managing Director and CEO, Indian School Finance Company commented, “Being the pioneer in an industry often comes with its unique set of difficult challenges, the primary among them being raising capital from institutional investors / lenders. With GMC by our side, its experience in microfinance and its understanding of the Affordable Private Schools (APS) segment, helped us tremendously in achieving rapid growth, and strong financial performance over the years."

Rajeev Suneja, partner and leader banking and financial services at Deloitte Financial Advisory said, “ISFC has been a pioneer in the field of affordable school finance in India, Manappuram parentage will provide further impetus to growth, wider reach and reduced liability cost for ISFC"

To recall, Grey Matter Capital has recently shortlisted eight participating startup organizations in the first cohort of its accelerator program – GMC Calibrator that was launched earlier in April this year.

Top Image - ISFC Team | via -

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