Chennai\u2019s Sundaram Finance Group (SFG) has made an equity investment in Delhi-based overseas education loan disbursement platform GyanDhan.\r\n\r\nThe online marketplace GyanDhan was founded by two IIT alumni, Jainesh Sinha and Ankit Mehra with an aim to help students fulfil their goals. The platform provides education loans for students aspiring to pursue studies abroad (the US being one focus market).\r\n\r\nWith the raised funds, GyanDhan further aims to invest in building data science capabilities in the education loans market.\r\n\r\nGyanDhan uses advanced data analytics and a proprietary data set that \u2013 for example - predicts the likelihood of a student getting a sufficiently remunerative job after graduation to service the education loan. This allows tailor-made education loan offerings for customers. GyanDhan has already tied up with multiple partners on the funding side.\r\n\r\nAs claimed in an official statement, GyanDhan has already helped over 250 students get education loans of around $9.30 Mn (INR 60 Cr).\r\n\r\nSFG is a leading player in retail finance with a presence in multiple facets of the financial services industry, including vehicle finance, home finance, mutual funds, general insurance and financial services distribution. The group has a pan-India presence with over 600 branches. As of March 31 2017, SFL Group reported consolidated revenues of $873 Mn (INR 5,633 Cr) and profits of $105 Mn (INR 683 Cr).\r\n\r\nLately, SFG has been actively pursuing initiatives in the areas of digital technology. As a part of this effort, the group has started engaging with startups in the areas of financial services and fintech.\r\n\r\nAs stated by TT Srinivasaraghavan, Managing Director, SFG\u00a0the initiative aims to associate with firms where there is synergy with group strategy. Harsha Viji, Deputy Managing Director, SFG further added, \u201cWe are already engaging with multiple startups with various types of engagement models \u2013 operational, financing, and also equity investments where it makes sense.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhile there is no specific time-frame or corpus in mind, SFG is looking to make investments as opportunities arise. The investments will be minority stakes in early stage ventures with ticket sizes of $1 Mn or less, though larger investments will be made where warranted, according to an official statement shared by SFG.\r\n\r\nSFG is also looking to co-invest with like-minded venture capitalists and angel investors in this space.\r\n\r\nAs per data available until June 2016, there has been seen a surge\u00a0of 17.8% in the growth of Indian students going abroad. The bank's reluctance and higher interest rates on disbursing education loans have helped the startups to carve out a new niche in this segment. Relying on their tech algorithms, these startups fearless when it comes to credit repayment. Other prime players presently working in the education loan segment are Credila from the HDFC and Avanse. Also, there are\u00a0players like OpenTap, BankBazaar,\u00a0and more which are helping students with loans to study abroad.