Lok Capital and Acumen Fund announce Rs. 7 crore investment in Hippocampus Learning Centres
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Bangalore, May 2012: Lok Capital, one of the largest dedicated funds in India for businesses focused on serving the lower income and base of the pyramid (BOP) customer segments and Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia, East and West Africa, today announce Rs. 7 crore investment in Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC), a for-profit rural education service provider in India. This is Lok Capital’s and Acumen’s first investment in Education and marks the launch of their respective education portfolios. Based in Karnataka, India, HLC provides affordable, quality education by employing and training local female teachers who coach students between the ages of 3-12 in both pre-school and primary instruction.
Education has traditionally been a public sector service but public education systems globally have struggled to meet the learning needs of low-income populations. In a rapidly developing economy like India, more than 50% of children between the ages of 15 and 19 are currently unemployed or out of school. Those that go to school receive low-quality instruction that often focuses more on rote memorization than on real learning. Rural India faces the greatest challenges –more than half of rural 5th standard students cannot read a 2nd standard level text and only 28% can do a basic division problem.
“The private sector has a critical role to play in creating education innovations that serve the poor. These customers are increasingly demonstrating their willingness to pay for quality solutions and demand accountability for them,” said Ankur Shah, Interim India Director at Acumen Fund “That is precisely what we want to promote. We believe the public sector in turn must play a role in enabling these solutions to scale and see many opportunities to partner with governments.”