Pearson Affordable Learning Fund

Headquarters Location: 
Year established: 
2012

The Pearson Affordable Learning Fund is a for-profit investment fund, focused on providing K-12 education at the Bottom of the Pyramid. The fund makes minority equity investments in for-profit companies to meet a burgeoning demand for affordable education services across the developing world.  Achieving ‘Education For All.’ necessitates both efficient public and private education actors working in tandem.

The fund was launched in June 2012, with $15 million of initial Pearson capital, with a goal to help improve access to quality education for the poorest families in the world. Pearson Affordable Learning Fund works in collaboration with governments, donor agencies, NGOs, entrepreneurs, impact investors, foundations and other corporations to make this happen. Overall, the work reinforces Pearson’s wider commitment to affordability and access in education.

Approach:

  • Support education entrepreneurs who are mission-driven and are creating scalable and profitable education solutions for the low income segment.
  • An investment horizon of 5-10 years with competitive market returns generated over the investment lifecycle.
  • Take minority to significant minority equity stake investments, with strategic input and board representation.
  • Invest in proven models and credible management teams (seed stage, Series A and beyond).
  • Use Pearson's education expertise to ensure a relentless focus on efficacy and learner outcomes.
  • Channel knowledge and support from the wider Pearson business.

Investment Scope:

  • Emergence of low-cost private school chains in optimal markets. Where relevant the fund will partner with credible local partners to create a new  low-cost private school chain; or provide expertise and capital to help scale existing low-cost private school operations.
  • Service providers Low-cost Private Schools (e.g. teacher development solutions).
  • Other low-income focused education ventures, especially those that utilise technology to create scalable, quality solutions.

Long-term objective

  • To help provide millions of the poorest children in the world with a quality education, in a profitable and sustainable manner.
  • Demonstrate to governments and donors that low-cost private education can help educate the poor in a cost-effective way.
  • Use data-driven evidence as a basis for dialogue with developing-country governments and donor agencies, about including for-profit provision as part of their strategy to improve educational outcomes for the poor.

Funding Priorities

Primary funding mechanism: 
Range of typical investment size: 
Under $100,000
$100,000-$500,000
$500,000-$1 million
$1 million and up
Typical length of investment: 
Most are investments of between 5-10 years (“Patient Capital”)
Size of overall portfolio: 
$1 million and up
Total amount: 
£15,000,000million
Breakdown of funding portfolio: