Global investment firm KKR has invested in EQuest Education Group, an educational services provider in Vietnam.
EQuest operates a diversified portfolio focused on four core segments: K12 bilingual schools, tertiary and vocational institutions, English courses, and digital learning solutions.
As a group, EQuest has more than 110,000 students enrolled across its segments each year, with its K12 portfolio catering to more than 9,000 of those on eight campuses.
KKR stated that its investment will be used to support EQuest’s expansion and advance its mission to provide students in Vietnam with affordable access to world-class education.
The investment is being made through the KKR Global Impact Fund and marks the fund’s fourth investment globally in the educational and workforce development sector as part of the fund’s thematic focus on lifelong learning. The fund is focused on generating risk-adjusted returns by investing in companies that contribute toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). EQuest’s business directly contributes towards SDG 4 (quality education) by providing accessible, affordable and high-quality education to Vietnam’s emerging middle-class population.
Nguyen Quoc Toan, co-founder and chief executive of EQuest, said: “Access to high-quality education and intensive English language training is crucial for Vietnamese students to achieve their full potential. By making the access affordable at a disruptive cost, EQuest is committed to delivering world-class education and bringing accredited, world-class curriculum to more Vietnamese students to improve their competitiveness in the global arena.
“With the support of KKR and its sector expertise, we are confident we will be able to advance our mission to provide quality learning for Vietnam’s millions of students and contribute to the development of a skilled workforce that will support the country’s long-term growth aspirations.”
Chee-Wei Wong, head of KKR Global Impact for Asia, added: “KKR Global Impact’s thematic around lifelong learning focuses on closing the skills gap and creating more equitable access to quality education. EQuest advances these goals – we believe lifelong learning starts at an early age and EQuest is supporting the development of the next generation through its high-quality affordable education programmes with strong outcomes.
“KKR aims to leverage our operational experience, global network and education expertise to strengthen EQuest’s market-leading position, further build on its ed tech solutions, and implement industry best practices. We look forward to working together with EQuest’s management team to advance the company’s mission and expand the reach of its impact across Vietnam.”
Ashish Shastry, co-head of Asia private equity and head of Southeast Asia at KKR, commented: “Investing in Vietnam and supporting the growth of the country’s businesses and industries is a key part of KKR’s strategy in Asia. As Vietnam continues to elevate on the world’s economic stage, access to affordable, high-quality education solutions plays an important role in meeting the nation’s objectives.
“We are excited to invest in EQuest and to support aspiring Vietnamese entrepreneurs like Toan – as well as EQuest’s talented team – to help realise their vision for closing the education gap in the country.”
It was also announced that Annabelle Vultee, the former China chief operating officer of EF Education First, has joined EQuest’s board.
Date published: 1 June 2021