Education fintech start-up Financepeer on Wednesday announced that it has raised $31 million in latest funding round (Series B funding) led by US venture capitalist QED Investors and Mumbai-based Aavishkaar Capital. This round also saw participation from ed-tech investor Ardent Ventures, DMI Sparkle Fund, DMI, 9Unicorn, LC Nueva AIF, and Maxar VC.
Financepeer offers loans to students to pay school and college fees. It plans to utilise the funds to "enhance its technology platform and offerings, expand and strengthen its education-institution partnerships, and deepen its reach in rural areas to enable more students, especially the girl students, to get easy access to quality education," the firm said in a statement.
The company claimed that over the last year, it has witnessed 10x growth and has partnered with more than 10,000 educational institutions all across the country to deliver affordable fee financing solutions, Edu-tech content, and fee payment solutions.
To be sure, Financepeer had raised $3 million in strategic investment in pre-series A funding round in 2020 from MS Fincap, Danube, Aar Em Ventures, Angelbay Holdings, JITO Angel Network, and HEM Angels.
Founded in 2017 by alumni from IIT/IIM/Stanford, Rohit Gajbhiye, Sunit Gajbhiye, Naveesh Reddy and Debi Prasad Baral, Financepeer is one of the first players in this space catering to both offline and online education providers including pre-schools, K-12, colleges, universities, offline test prep, edtech, and skilling, it added.
Commenting on the funding round, Rohi Gajbhiye, CEO, said, “Financepeer has processed more than $100 MN of fees on its platform and helped hundreds of thousands of students get quality education. In line with the company's vision for the next phase of growth, it is very important to join hands with sector-specific and the right set of leaders, partners and investors. Our mission is to bring revolution in the education space through neo banking and at the same time create an impact at the bottom of the pyramid, via increasing access to quality education...”
There are over 362 million students in India, who spend more than $216 billion annually on education, the company statement informed. Average Indian household spending on education and skilling has seen a significant increase over the last few years.
“However, access to credit from formal financial institutions eludes this segment. Financepeer offers innovative digital-enabled financing solutions through institutional partnerships to students seeking credit support for fee payment,” Rohit added.
Sandeep Patil, Partner & Head of Asia, QED, said: “We are thrilled to back Rohit, Naveesh, Debi, Sunit and the team. Financepeer's quest to leverage financial technology to deliver on important socio-economic and development objectives is more important today than ever...”
Meanwhile, Sushma Kaushik, Partner, Aavishkaar Capital, said, “Through our first investment from the new fund, we are excited to partner with Financepeer as they are servicing a large unmet need in the aspiring Indian edtech segment, creating a significant impact in Tier-2 and beyond cities. Also, we have realized that support via finance significantly improves access to education, especially for girl students wanting higher education. This has been validated by the large base of girl students in Financepeer’s network."
Phil Bronner, Managing Partner & co-founder, Ardent Venture Partners, said, “It is our experience that right capital and support in the early stage can result in significant value creation. Financepeer is growing quickly and is poised to be a leader in its market. This is our first investment in India, and we are excited about the partnership.”
Education financing is one of the fastest-growing segments as it is a deeply underserved sector that enables the aspirations of learners across India. Due to the inherently high social collateral, the lending book for this segment has been among the best-performing ones, despite macro shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ashika Group, a leading diversified financial services group, was one of the advisors in this funding round for Financepeer that has ace batsman and Indian Cricket team captain Rohit Sharma as its brand ambassador, the company further stated.
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