Kaizen Private Equity LLC, India's first education-focused PE fund, is leading a Rs 24 crore or $4.6 million round in Ace Creative Learning Private Limited. The Bangalore-based company offers training and guidance to students for various entrance examinations. Ace Creative had earlier raised Series A investment from Accel Partners, N R Narayana Murthy's Catamaran Ventures and some angel investors, who are also participating in the current round. Kaizen will appoint a nominee on the board of the company.
The financing will be used to support Ace Creative Learning's growth plans outside Karnataka, said a statement. The company has identified numerous locations across neighbouring states over the next five years. Bangalore based boutique investment bank Masterkey Holdings have been sole advisors to Ace learning.
Academic Center for Excellence or Ace, founded in 1998 by Dr. Ganapathy Sridhar, offers comprehensive training for the IITJEE, AIEEE, AIPMT, FMS and NTSE. The company also has an online platform supported by tablet computers to enable students to attend lectures and study at their homes.
Dr. G. Sridhar, who obtained his B. Tech from IIT Kharagpur in 1989 and Ph.D from The Johns Hopkins University, is supported by faculty members including graduates from the IIT, experienced retired professors from reputed institutes and doctorates from India & the US.
"With education as our focus, we have been looking for high-end companies with a differentiated edge. Ace has doubled its IIT JEE ranks and increased AIEEE ranks by 50 per cent last year, alongside ensuring students are also receiving a balanced preparation for their school board examinations. This success in ranks is because of the company's ability to attract good students and more effective teaching methodology," said Sandeep Aneja, Founder and Managing Director of Kaizen Management Advisors.
Kaizen closed its maiden fund at Rs 400 crore in June this year. Last month, the fund invested Rs 25 crore ($4.5 million) in Altus Learning Private Limited, which is involved in providing management and other services from playschools to K-12 segment.
The investment in Ace is the fourth disclosed investment by the sector focused fund. Kaizen has earlier invested in distance education provider Universal Training Solutions (UTS) and corporate day care services firm Your Kids 'R' Our Kids (India) Pvt Ltd.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)