Kupuev Academy, a private, progressive school located in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, announced that it has raised $700,000 in financing. The investment comes from AV Frontiers, a Bishkek-based investment firm that manages the Central Asia Impact Fund (CAIF) in partnership with its parent company AV Ventures, based in Washington, D.C. AV Ventures is the wholly owned impact investing subsidiary of ACDI/VOCA. This brings Kupuev Academy’s total funding to $2.8 million, including $1.5 million in institutional investor capital.

Breaking Ground on a New Campus

Kupuev Academy’s campus in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

The flexible long-term financing from AV Ventures will enable Kupuev Academy to build a second campus in response to strong demand for the school’s innovative curriculum. The proceeds of the new capital will be used to construct a new building with 20 classrooms, a dining area, lounges, and athletic and creative arts studios. It will be equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity, IT equipment, and furniture. The launch of this new campus in late 2022 will increase total student capacity to 600.

A Shift Toward Online Curriculum

Students learning computer science at Kupuev Academy

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kupuev Academy launched a merit-based scholarship program to reach more underserved talented students. It was also the first school in Kyrgyzstan to sign an exclusive franchise partnership with Moscow-based Algoritmika, a programming and mathematics edtech start-up. The online courses developed by Algoritmika are fully incorporated in the school’s curriculum, further establishing Kupuev Academy as the premier school to equip Kyrgyz youth with digital and STEM skills. Kupuev Academy is also developing Kupuev Online, an online supplementary learning portal featuring hundreds of pre-recorded lessons, testing materials, and practice questions.

Better Opportunities for Kyrgyz Youth

The first campus opened in October 2019 and features bright, modern classrooms serving up to 330 students. The school is in the central part of Osh, near major residential and commercial centers. Its curriculum is based on the Ministry of Education standards with enhanced emphasis on math, science, and English language and further supplemented by extracurricular activities aimed at fostering creativity and critical thinking. The education sector is vital for Kyrgyzstan’s future given that 37 percent of the population is under the age of 19. The city of Osh alone has more than 74,000 students, with few enrolled in private schools. In fact, only 2.2 percent of all students in the country attend private schools, and the demand for investments in education remains extremely high. A higher quality education for all age groups and qualifications — supported by private investment — is essential for the local economy to grow and create jobs.

Co-founders Aselia Kupueva and Mirsaid Kupuev are Kyrgyz citizens, educated at the Tuck School of Business of Dartmouth College and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. They are driven by a common passion to reinvent secondary education in Kyrgyzstan.

“Kupuev Academy is dedicated to better serving Osh and larger Kyrgyzstan with high quality education. This investment will solidify our position as a leading school in Osh and enable us to expand our innovative educational offerings. Partnering with AV Ventures and CAIF is a major milestone for Kupuev Academy, enabling us to equip our students to become global leaders of tomorrow.”

–Aselia Kupueva, co-founder and managing principal at Kupuev Academy and former management consultant at Mckinsey & company

Investing in High-Impact Companies

A teacher at Kupuev Academy

AV Ventures spearheads ACDI/VOCA’s use of blended finance in response to global development needs. Meanwhile, AV Frontiers invests in companies operating in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan and considers all sectors of the economy that have financial and commercial stability and social impact. This includes sectors that create new jobs, ensure the involvement of young people in business, and support women’s entrepreneurship. Important factors for AV Frontiers are the stability of the business model, the ability to scale and grow, and the professional and human qualities of the entrepreneur and the team that implements the project and their business.

“Investing in high-quality education in the long term ensures an increase in the level of education and the quality of life in the region and in the country as a whole in the future, thereby creating confidence in the future. Also, we are impressed by the dynamic and high-quality composition of the Kupuev Academy team, which gives us confidence in the successful implementation of the project.”

–Taalaibek djoumataev, general director, AV Frontiers

AV Frontiers is ready to finance high-impact companies in agriculture, food and light industries, information and communication technology, education, tourism, and the financial sector. Companies can receive investments between $100,000 and $1 million. The USAID-funded Enterprise Competitiveness Project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA and Cross Boundary, provided critical transaction advisory support to bring the deal to a successful close.

About Kupuev Academy

Kupuev Academy is a progressive private school located in Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan and accredited by the country’s Ministry of Education. It was founded in 2019 by Ivy League-educated Kyrgyz entrepreneurs as a private school that combines rigorous curriculum emphasizing sciences, mathematics, programming courses with pastoral care and culture of freedom of expression and creative thinking. Since its inception, Kupuev Academy has received support from USAID, Highland Capital, the first DFI-sponsored private equity firm in Kyrgyzstan and ACDI/VOCA’s impact investing subsidiary AV Ventures in partnership with Central Asia Impact Fund.

About AV Ventures

AV Ventures is ACDI/VOCA’s for-profit subsidiary. AV Ventures provides innovative, catalytic financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in West Africa and Central Asia. Such investments provide better economic opportunities for communities and generate social impact through inclusive, responsible supply chains.

About AV Frontiers and Central Asia Impact Fund (CAIF)

AV Frontiers is subsidiary of AV Ventures and Frontiers MLC. AV Frontiers, an impact investment management firm with offices in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Washington, D.C., act as a bridge between investors, fund and SMEs in need of funding to grow.