This is why we are excited about our latest investment in ErudiFi, a tech-enabled company providing access to affordable financing in Southeast Asia.
While Indonesia and the Philippines are the two most populous countries in Southeast Asia, they also have low tertiary enrollment rates. At present, nearly two-thirds of Indonesian and Filipino youths are unable to enroll in higher education. This is due to the expensive tertiary education costs and the lack of affordable financing, which continues to impede financially disadvantaged students seeking higher education. While there have been great strides from the government to address this issue, the market is still plagued with high-interest rates by traditional financial institutions and a lack of reach from peer-to-peer lending companies.
Student retention also remains a challenge, with many schools experiencing 10-15% dropout rates annually, primarily due to financial difficulties faced by students and their families.
That’s where ErudiFi comes in. With a B2B solution that integrates directly to their school partners’ enrollment operations, ErudiFi offers an array of affordable financing options to students, which helps narrow the education financing gap.
Since the company launched in 2017, Naga and his team have been laser-focused on bringing a tech-enabled and data-driven solution that provides students with access to education. We believe that they have the conviction and strength to bring access to education to millions of people, allowing students to achieve their aspirations by overcoming financial constraints in paying for educational programs.
Through ErudiFi, students in Southeast Asia now have an alternative to informal payday lenders which charge high-interest rates. Students also no longer have to rely on family and friends for financial support. This mission-driven startup is focused on a simple goal: to expand access to quality education in the region, and help build a better tomorrow for millions of people. This is done through the use of tech to streamline operations and providing a data-driven financing solution that helps schools with student recruitment and retention.
We first met ErudiFi’s CEO and Co-Founder, Naga at a startup event in Philadelphia. At the time, he was studying for his MBA at Wharton. We discussed his passion for the edutech landscape in Southeast Asia and how there’s so much potential and opportunity to solve the pain points in education financing. We reconnected again after he entered Y Combinator’s Winter 2018 batch and have been involved in ErudiFi’s startup journey ever since.
Today, co-founders Naga, Ketty, Riche, and their team have leveraged tech to help thousands of financially underserved students. The company itself has grown 3x in 2020. But this is just the start. This is just the beginning of their journey. Naga and his team will continue to drive growth, profitability, and stickiness through a relentless focus on product innovation, operational excellence, and expansion to more cities and campuses. We are thrilled to be on this amazing journey with ErudiFi in supporting their mission to build a better tomorrow for youths and ensure that no one gets left behind.