Filter by

  • Year

Gray Matters Capital Backs Ghana’s Medical Diagnostics Venture Redbird Health Tech under its coLABS Portfolio

Gray Matters Capital Set to Sell its Stake in Indian School Finance Company (ISFC) to Manappuram Finance

Gray Matters Capital Unveils the First Cohort of its Accelerator Program – GMC Calibrator

Global EdTech Accelerator EDUGILD Enters into Strategic Partnership with Impact Investor Gray Matters Capital

Gray Matters Capital Launches its Accelerator Program ‘GMC Calibrator’

Chrysalis Raises Pre-Series A Funding from Impact Investor Gray Matters Capital

To use the funding to foray into the Affordable Private Schools (APS) segment

PRESS RELEASE

BENGALURU/ CHENNAI, 30th January, 2018: Chrysalis, incorporated as EZ Vidya Pvt. Ltd.,  a Chennai based educational reform organization, that has designed game changing products and solutions for schools has today announced that it has raised pre-series A funding from Indian education sector focused impact investor Gray Matters Capital.

Boutique investment bank Unitus Capital acted as an exclusive financial advisor to Chrysalis, while impact investment management firm CBA Capital supported Gray Matters Capital for this transaction.

The amount raised will be used by Chrysalis to build on its research and development, and to strengthen its multichannel approach to take its Education for Human Potential movement to every child in the country. This will further intensify their efforts to bring change in the education system by targeting K-12 schools, which have 250 million children enrolled of which 100 million are in the private school segment.

Betting on ‘Education for Human Potential’ Solutions to change India’s Education System

 

Chrysalis’ flagship product is ThinkRoom, a student-centric academic programme based on Human Potential framework which has been developed in-house through 16 years of intense pedagogic research. It aims to help every school student to discover his or her potential while developing academic excellence and replaces programmes and textbooks whose focus is limited to academic outcomes.

 

Chrysalis’ ThinkRoom offers a comprehensive solution to schools, including learning material with child focused curriculum, teacher assistant tools, student assessments and tech-enabled teaching and home learning applications.

 

In line with its goal of ‘Education for Human potential’ for every child, Chrysalis’ ThinkRoom, which currently caters to over 250,000 students in 500+ schools spread across 11 Indian states, will be reaching out to Affordable Private Schools (APS), which charge an average monthly fee of Rs. 1750 per student.

 

Last year, Chrysalis had introduced ‘Buzzle Cards’ that help impart core concepts of Mathematics and English using Augmented Reality through the Buzzle AR Beta app. The app animates images on the cards making the learning experience immersive for the student.

 

Gray Matters Capital had funded the development of this ‘Business Line innovation’ through its edLABS initiative. The strong team at Chrysalis and their innovative product convinced it to look at Chrysalis for a follow-on Pre-Series A funding.

 

Speaking about the alignment of the deal with Chrysalis’ mission of spearheading educational reform in India, Chitra Ravi, Founder and CEO, Chrysalis, said, “Our mission is to stand up for the child, by reforming the Indian education system in a way that every child realizes his/her human potential. In our estimation, we have more than 15,00,000 schools failing in this regard. We have established a roadmap to bring in a fundamental change in the system by engaging 5 principal mediums - policy makers, government schools, private schools, parents and public, by open-sourcing our intellectual property selectively. We are committed to this mission and were seeking investors who were aligned to it. We found the right fit in Gray Matters Capital, which has a vision to transform human lives using education as a medium.

“We see Chrysalis as one of the most innovative, mission driven and student centric educational enterprises in India, which has the potential of bringing about a tangible change in the way education is imparted in our schools. This investment is a validation of the work put in by Chitra and her team in addressing the critical need to improve quality across the education spectrum. We are proud to fund a woman led enterprise like Chrysalis” said Ragini Bajaj Chaudhary, India CEO, Gray Matters Capital, outlining the investment rationale.

Eric Savage, Co-Founder and CEO of Unitus Capital added, “We are privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Chrysalis on this fund raise. We believe in the vision that Chitra and her team has set out to create immense value in the education sector in India. Unitus Capital is proud to be associated with this transaction and we remain committed to ensure access to capital to the sector.” 

Notes to the Editor 

About Chrysalis 

Chrysalis is a Chennai based learning solutions provider to schools and children. It’s flagship product ThinkRoom is a progressive learning and assessment solution adopted by forward thinking schools, replacing existing pedagogy. Chrysalis is currently present in 11 states, in 500+ schools and ~250,000 students. For more information, visit www.chrysalis.world/

 About Gray Matters Capital 

Gray Matters Capital (GMC) is an Atlanta based impact investor with a mission to support "An education leading to a more purposeful life for 100 million women by 2036." In India, it invests in for-profit education ventures with a focus on access to affordable quality education and on employability leading to a future job ready workforce with 21st century skills. Investments in education focused funds; enterprises with break through solutions in education with its edLABS initiative; building markets through ecosystem development and providing value beyond capital through portfolio management constitute the key focus areas of its India strategy. To know more, visit www.graymatterscap.com  

About Unitus Capital

Unitus Capital is a boutique investment bank focused on raising debt and equity for impactful businesses across various sectors such as; microfinance, other financial institutions, affordable healthcare, affordable education, agriculture, renewable energy, technology and women empowerment. Till date, Unitus Capital has raised over USD 1.6 billion in debt and equity for approximately 80 social enterprises across India, Australia, Philippines and Cambodia. To know more about Unitus Capital, visit http://www.unituscapital.com/

About CBA Capital

Founded in 2013, CBA Capital is an impact investment management firm with focus on impact sectors – education and financial inclusion. It manages two funds IEIF and ECF. It also manages some early stage investments through its own proprietary pool.

 

Media Contacts

For Chrysalis

Dhivya Venkatesan

M: +91 7358585674

E: dhivya@chrysalis.world

 

For Gray Matters Capital

Varun C Bhagath

M: +91 9967185027

E: vbhagath@graymatterscap.com

Edtech Startup Add-On-Gyan Educational Services Launches India’s First 21st Century Skill Learning Platform – Kidovators

Backed by Impact Investor Gray Matters Capital’s edLABS initiative, the platform aims to impart critical 21st Century Skills such as Creativity, Critical Thinking, Complex Problem Solving and Collaboration among others for K-10 students

To create active engagement between Corporates and the K-10 student community wherein student insights as consumers can be used for product or service innovation

BENGALURU, 11th January, 2018: Add-On-Gyan Educational Services Pvt. Ltd., a Bengaluru based education-technology startup which has created programs and curriculums for K-10 schools in diverse areas such as STEAM (Science, Technology, English, Arts and Mathematics), Logical Thinking, and Entrepreneurship, has today announced the launch of KidovatorsTM  – India’s first 21st century skill learning platform.

KidovatorsTM has been backed by impact investor Gray Matters Capital through its edLABS initiative that provides very early stage funding to ‘visionary edu-preneurs’ to help build breakthrough solutions that address education gaps, 21st century skills and future of work for the Indian mass market.

Through this platform, school students of Classes IV to IX can acquire skills such as Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking and Complex Problem-solving by participating in gamified challenges and by availing online continuous learning programs geared towards inculcating core competencies necessary to create the workforce of the future.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ‘Kidovators Edu Summit’ where the platform was launched, Priyadeep Sinha, Founder and CEO, Add-On-Gyan Educational Services Pvt. Ltd. said,

“65% students entering school today will grow up to do work that does not even exist today. Various research reports highlight that skills such as creativity, critical thinking and adaptability are going to be key to the success of the future human capital. This means that the education system needs to morph itself to be one that can orient the students to this mode of thinking. We believe that the Kidovators Platform is one such spark that our education needs to ignite the minds of our future!”

Ragini Bajaj Chaudhary, India CEO, Gray Matters Capital said,

“Backing affordable breakthrough solutions of for-profit education ventures focused on inculcating 21st century skills and improving the learning outcomes of the students is in line with our investment strategy in India”  

Throwing light on the edLABS initiative, Smita Sircar, Innovation Director -edLABS and ecosystem, Gray Matters Capital said,

“Be it education startups who have an innovative idea and need early stage funding to pilot their product prototype or an established education enterprise looking for business line innovation, edLABS creates a nurturing environment for them to downscale into the affordable private education space. We are on the constant look out for entrepreneurs like Priyadeep who are mission driven to solve the toughest problems in education with their innovations applicable to not just India, but globally too.”

 

How the KidovatorsTM Platform Imparts 21st Century Skills

Creative Thinking Program 

A course for students of Classes IV - IX to help them tap into their existing creative skills & giving direction to it. Students are encouraged to look at or use objects and spaces from a completely different perspective. They also read about how some of the existing products and solutions we use today have come into being through applications of creative thinking and are introduced to tools and triggers to expand their scope of creativity.

To create the course, Kidovators has partnered with Erehwon, the 25 year old innovation consulting firm which pioneered the unique ‘Orbit-Shifting Innovation’ approach that has successfully moved leaders, teams & organisations across Europe, US & Asia-Pacific to create and execute Innovation led transformations.

Besides the course, the education-technology start-up has been conducting ‘Kidovators Creativity Olympiad: The Erehwon Challenge’ - India’s Biggest Creativity Olympiad to help students from Class IV to IX to hone their creative thinking skills.

Critical Thinking Program 

A program also for students of Classes IV – IX that is designed and built to help them understand how to form a decision or judgement based on unbiased and objective evaluation of facts. In this program students will learn the concepts of scientific method and logic for judgments and decisions are key not only at work but also in our day to day life. Critical thinking is also a key factor for decision making and students will learn how to critically evaluate each solution when multiple solutions are possible to a presented problem.

KidovatorsTM is also launching its Critical Thinking Olympiad in 2018 to help students build and grow their critical thinking skills.

Complex Problem Solving Program

With an objective of inculcating problem solving traits in students, this program helps students identify a problem area or a need and develop, analyse and implement their thoughts and ideas to solve the problem and cater to the need. Students are encouraged to also understand topics such as finance, marketing, execution hurdles, real world issues and are introduced to team building activities.

Through this program, KidovatorsTM as a platform will also be to create active engagement between Corporates and the student community to apply creative and critical thinking to some of the most pressing issues that our society faces as well as providing their insights into products as consumers & future customers!

Future Plans

The platform will be looking to add more challenges, courses and spotlight programs around Adaptability and Collaboration in the future.

“Kidovators is levelling the playing field by ensuring that kids from affordable private schools (APS) are provided with the exact same quality of learning on the platform as students from marquee schools of India.”, Priyadeep Sinha added.

 

Notes to the Editor

About Gray Matters Capital
Gray Matters Capital (GMC) is an Atlanta based impact investor with a mission to support "An
education leading to a more purposeful life for 100 million women by 2036." In India, it invests in for
profit education ventures with a focus on access to affordable quality education and on employability leading to a future job ready workforce with 21st century skills. Investments in education focused funds; enterprises with break through solutions in education with its edLABS initiative; building markets through ecosystem development and providing value beyond capital through portfolio management constitute the key focus areas of its India strategy.

About edLABS
edLABS is Gray Matters Capital’s newest initiative in India that provides very early stage funding to
‘visionary edu-preneurs’. The aim is to help build breakthrough solutions for Indian mass market that
address education gaps, 21st century skills and future of work. The innovative funding mechanism
(up to USD 150K) doesn’t bind the enterprise to debt obligation nor does it dilute the equity of the
founders. The pay back to edLABS is percentage of top line over next few years and is, therefore,
variable and dependent on enterprise scaling successful. Other than capital, edLABS provides global
view, advisory support, networks & scale. Since its inception in March 2017, edLABS has made 5
diverse investments in behaviour architecture, AR/VR curriculum, AI supported tuition platform,
vernacular MOOCs and creativity Olympiad for kids.

About Add-On- Gyan Educational Services Pvt. Ltd.
Add-On- Gyan Educational Services Pvt. Ltd. is a pioneering education-technology startup founded in
January, 2011 by Priyadeep Sinha and Sonali Gupta both of whom are graduates of Manipal University.

In the last seven years, it has worked with and impacted the lives of thousands of school students
from across India. With a core focus on 21st century skills education, it has created programs and
curriculums in diverse areas such as STEAM, Logical Thinking, and Entrepreneurship and is presently
focused on programs and curriculums in Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking and Complex Problem-
solving.

The company works closely with academia as well as industry as an innovation interface to bring the
most pressing real challenges to K-10 students in order to help them prepare for the future of work
and provide organizations with extremely relevant reports with insights from the future consumers
and human capital.

Media Contact
Gray Matters Capital
Varun C Bhagath
M: +91 9967185027 | E: vbhagath@graymatterscap.com

Education Catalyst Fund (ECF) raises US$ 20 million in a funding round led by Gray Matters Capital and MSDF

ECF is an early stage education and skilling fund focused on low income population

Sept 20, 2017 – Fund Manager, CBA Capital, has successfully completed the first close of Education Catalyst Fund, a US$ 20 Million onshore fund, focused on supporting edtech companies that offer solutions to low income families in the education, and jobs & livelihoods areas. ECF is an onshore fund established under the Alternate Investment Fund Category II scheme of the Securities & Exchange Board of India. It is also the first multi-investor fund to focus exclusively on affordable education and jobs & livelihoods opportunities in the country. The investors include Gray Matters Capital (GMC), Michael & Susan Dell Foundation India and a few private investors in India.

ECF is structured as an 8-year close-ended fund aimed at supporting companies in the early part of their lifecycle with seed and series A stage investments. ECF aims to support around 15 companies during the eight-year period and these companies are expected to touch over one million low income households over their lifetime.

Over the past 3 years, CBA Capital has established a deep understanding of the space working with young edtech companies through “India Education Investment Fund” (IEIF), a proprietary fund of Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. IEIF focuses exclusively on early stage, high quality, affordable education and skilling solutions targeted at urban low-income families. It has seed funded six young companies till date (Oliveboard, edtechChipperSage, GuruG, Report Bee, School Mitra and Select Jobs) that have demonstrated strong traction in scaling up their businesses.

Ragini Chaudhary, CEO, Gray Matters Capital India said,

“GMC believes that investing in education and supporting young entrepreneurs is a powerful pathway to achieving impact at scale. ECF is focused on education and skilling – two of the most important ingredients for harvesting the demographic dividend of the country. We are excited about the potential of bringing positive change in the lives of low income families across India.”

Speaking about ECF, Geeta Goel, Vice President, Mission Investing at Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, said,

“Over the years, we have seen that the foundation’s impact can be expedited through high quality market based solutions that show demonstrable improvements in education and employment levels of our target segment. Our strategy of supporting early stage companies through funds is geared towards catalyzing such solutions, and then nurturing them to scale and sustainability. We were pleased to see the traction in IEIF, and decided to continue our support to CBA Capital in setting up a larger, multi-investor fund.”

Vishal Bharat, Managing Director at CBA Capital said,

“The edtech space presents an exciting investment opportunity, especially when its benefits can be reaped by all, irrespective of their economic levels, in a vast country like India. The potential of serving customers with varied vernacular needs, differing economic situations and high aspirations is ripe for market-based interventions”

About CBA Capital

Founded in 2013, CBA Capital is an impact investment management firm with focus on impact sectors – education and financial inclusion. It manages two funds IEIF and ECF. It also manages some early stage investments through its own proprietary pool.

About Gray Matters Capital

Founded in 2006 in Atlanta, GA as an impact investing enterprise by Bob Patillo, GMC actively invests in sustainable, replicable business models that benefit underserved populations in developing countries. It has set itself a mission of “an education leading to a more purposeful life for 100 million women by 2036.”

 

Gray Matters Capital’s coLABS Announces First Round of Gender Lens Investments

ATLANTA, GA, June 12, 2017 – Gray Matters Capital (GMC) is excited to announce the first round of investments from its newest portfolio coLABS, which invests in innovative and scalable pilots that are tackling critical issues facing women and girls around the world. Launched at the beginning of this year, coLABS supports entrepreneurs of early-stage ventures with seed investment capital, rapid prototyping, and advisor support.

This first round of investments reflect the portfolio’s varied interests—three different sectors spanning three different continents. “We are extremely proud to support these diverse pilots as they each use innovative solutions to address challenges faced by women,” said Jennifer Soltis, colead of the new portfolio. “The entrepreneurs in this group are incredibly talented, and we are thrilled to work with them as they grow their businesses.”

African Renewable Energy (ARED) uses a micro-franchise model that focuses on women and disabled individuals to provide Wi-Fi, mobile phone charging services, and intranet content via solar-powered kiosks. ARED launched in January 2013 in Rwanda and is using coLABS funding for its first international expansion into Uganda to market test its newest kiosk model, the Shiriki Hub.

doctHERs is a Pakistani digital health and telemedicine company that connects a network of homebased female doctors—who are unable to access the workplace—to healthcare consumers—who lack access to quality, affordable healthcare–via technology. In February 2017, doctHERs pivoted after 18 months of a community-based clinical model to focus on underserved stakeholders in corporate value chains to achieve more scale and financial sustainability. doctHERs is using coLABS funding to test this new corporate model. On the supply side, it is reintegrating women healthcare professionals into the workforce. On the demand side, it engaging workers and families within corporate value chains with a special focus on health and wellness for women and girls.

IssueVoter is a non-partisan platform that gives its users a voice in Washington by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful. IssueVoter keeps users informed year-round by alerting them before Congress votes on key issues that they care about, sending their opinions directly to representatives with one click, and holding politicians accountable by tracking how they vote so that users can make informed decisions at election time. IssueVoter is passionate about promoting civic engagement among underrepresented women and is using coLABS funding to enhance their platform offerings, reach more citizens, and pilot a corporate engagement model.

Further information on the current portfolio and its entrepreneurs, as well as profiles of strategic advisors who are recruited to support enterprise development, is available on the coLABS website.
The coLABS investment cycle occurs approximately every three months and accepts applications on its website from ambitious entrepreneurs who are passionate about changing the lives of women and girls through disruptive innovation.

Notes to the Editor

About Gray Matters Capital

Gray Matters Capital (GMC) believes the best investment strategy is to bet on entrepreneurs and market-based solutions. Its vision is to create an empowered and purposeful life for 100 million women globally by 2036. Over the last ten years, the Atlanta-based impact investor has devoted $160 million USD into microfinance and education initiatives, primarily in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To accelerate towards its vision, GMC launched coLABS in early 2017 to invest in early-stage pilots that have the ability to demonstrably impact women and girls at scale with boundary pushing innovation. http://www.graymatterscap.com/

To learn more about GMC coLABS, please visit https://gmccolabs.com/. For further inquiries, please contact coLABS@graymatterscap.com.

Gray Matters Capital Establishes coLABS to Take Bets on Ambitious Social Start-Ups that will Drastically Improve the Lives of Women Globally

Press Contact:
Anna Cable, acable@graymatterscap.com

Atlanta, GA, February 1, 2017 – Gray Matters Capital (GMC) believes the best investment strategy is to bet on people, and more specifically, women. GMC’s vision is to create an empowered and purposeful life for 100 million women globally by 2036. Over the last ten years, the Atlanta-based impact investor has devoted $160 million USD into microfinance and education initiatives, primarily in South Asia, Africa and Latin America. To accelerate its progress toward that vision, it is excited to announce its latest Initiative, coLABS, which seeks to develop bold, new social ventures with the potential to drastically improve the lives of women and girls on a largescale.

GMC coLABS’ objective is to challenge the status quo through rigorous early-stage acceleration. Anna Cable, Innovation and Business Development Lead for GMC commented, “We have given ourselves $1 million over the next 12 months to move the needle on critical social issues for women. We will consider any sector, any geography; but, we want an uncompromising focus on the most vital issues that affect women around the world. We want to push ourselves, and our entrepreneurs, to really break the boundaries of existing impact investing models.”

One of coLABS’ first pilots is Aulas Amigas, headquartered in Colombia; Chief Financial Officer George O’Kane commented, “GMC coLABS has been a catalytic push for Aulas Amigas as it helped us jump start our international expansion, providing us with both risk capital and local expertise to build out a promising market entry pilot into India.”

GMC coLABS will focus on supporting pilots by providing capital, rapid prototyping and advisor support. They will look for unique and creative solutions to complex social issues and hard-toreach populations. On a micro scale, these solutions will forge sustainable and scalable models that make women’s lives exponentially better.

On a macro level, they will change societal attitudes that systemically keep women and communities from progressing. For example, how do you create entrepreneurial opportunities for incarcerated women in the U.S. to build financial security and fight recidivism? How do you structure educational and livelihood interventions for human trafficking survivors in Nepal? How can a reproductive health enterprise provide economic growth to rural Uganda while also fighting social stigma that threatens girls’ school attendance?

To take on those social challenges, GMC coLABS seeks passionate, savvy, trailblazing entrepreneurs hungry to get their ventures off the ground. Drawing from GMC’s entrepreneurial culture, coLABS takes a rigorous approach to enterprise acceleration, including early-stage investment capital and advisor support. Ms. Cable notes, “We want entrepreneurs who are ready for a do-or-die type challenge; you’ve got 12 months to make this into something, so how are you going to use these funds wisely to that end?” So, what does it take as an entrepreneur to join coLABS? The initiative is looking for entrepreneurs who are:

  • Tackling hard-to-reach markets, demographics, and complex social issues; 
  • Ready for seed funding ($10,000 - $100,000 USD) to launch an investment-ready pilot; 
  • Piloting revenue-generating, market-scalable models; 
  • Able to eventually scale your model to help GMC reach its mission: improving the lives of 100 million women globally!

The GMC coLABS investment cycle occurs every two months; the next investment decision will be made on February 22, 2017. We encourage you to share this announcement with ambitious entrepreneurs in your network who are passionate about changing the lives of women and girls through disruptive innovation.

About Gray Matters Capital

Gray Matters Capital invests in entrepreneurs who develop sustainable, market-based solutions for low-income customers globally with a focus on education. Its founder, Bob Pattillo, is also a founder of Gray Ghost Ventures, First Light Ventures, Gray Ghost Microfinance Fund, and an early investor in Bellwether Fund, ASA Intl, Village Capital, and dozens of individual enterprises. http://www.graymatterscap.com/

For further inquiries, please contact Anna Cable at acable@graymatterscap.com. To learn more about GMC coLABS, please visit https://gmccolabs.com/.