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Meet EPIC Entrepreneurs:
Steve Hardgrave and Brajesh Mishra, Varthana

In 2013, the Co-Founders, Steve Hardgrave and Brajesh Mishra, with their deep sectoral insights, understood that education in India was poised for inelastic and sustained growth. India’s demographic trends (i.e. a large and growing youth population) along with improving income profiles of Entrepreneurial Households meant demand for quality education would remain consistently high. 

Leveraging their rural financial services background and the experience of launching the Indian School Finance Company (IFSC), it became clear lending to affordable private schools (APS) was a massive opportunity. Born in Elevar Equity’s office in Bangalore, Steve and Brajesh thoughtfully developed Varthana to effectively improve the economic potential of APS entrepreneurs and enhance the delivery of quality education to students of Entrepreneurial Households. Over the past eleven years, embodying the essence of the word “Varthana”, which signifies growth and transformation, the founders have made a significant impact. Varthana has disbursed over 40,000 loans to more than 11,000 APS entrepreneurs impacting 4 million students across 15 states. #EPICEntrepreneurs!

Entrepreneurs at Elevar often exhibit exceptional resilience and entrepreneurial spirit to achieve large-scale impact. Their journey, marked by unwavering determination from the beginning to the present, is particularly remarkable as they navigated multiple crises. Throughout these challenges, Steve and Brajesh have been guided by their core values. They developed a profitable value proposition (key milestones here) and established a sustainable organization impacting the prosperity of millions of Entrepreneurial Households. Varthana’s story stands as a testament to the power of entrepreneurship in transforming education and empowering Industrious Communities. 

Enjoy the full conversation with Steve and Brajesh here.

Check out this video from 2018 where the founders share a glimpse of their vision for Varthana.