Serial Entrepreneurs, Angel Investors, and Capex Light Edu-Business Start-Ups in India: Philanthropy, Impact Investing, and Systemic Educational Change
Most work on the Global Education Industry (GEI) has focused on the role and growth of the ‘big players’—the multi-national corporations (e.g. Pearson, McKinsey, Microsoft, and News Corporation) or major global philanthropic foundations (Gates, Broad, Walton, Omidyar, etc.)—and has sought to map their national and global reach, their programs and investments, and ambitions for growth. Far less attention has been directed to the other end of the education market and the role of micro-, small-, and medium-sized edu-businesses. This chapter then has a primary focus on investment and the role of serial entrepreneurs and angel investors and the proliferation of education start-up businesses in India, but in doing so it also demonstrates the role of multi-national philanthropic foundations and local and international investment houses in the facilitation of the development of a global/local business eco-system ‘at the bottom of the pyramid’. I suggest that these investments in for-profit providers, of a variety of kinds, operating in ‘the education space’, are bringing about changes to the topology of Indian education and contributing to the construction of a shadow education state. Special attention is paid to the role of nodal actors or boundary spanners in policy and business development. The chapter also signals issues related to changes in education policy processes and governance and the concomitant changes to the form and modalities of the state and gestures toward the key role of technology—Ed-Tech—in the growth of the GEI and education reform.
I am very grateful to Shelina Thawer for her support for and comments on this paper, and to Carolina Junemann and Antonio Olmedo for their comments.
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