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Impact Investees


The impact investing community in India has supported more than 300 social enterprises till date. Some prominent ones are mentioned below:

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Asirvad Microfinance Private Limited is an NBFC-MFI registered with the RBI and received its NBFC-MFI license on 4th October 2013. Asirvad began its microfinance operations in January 2008 under Mr. S.V. Raja Vaidyanathan, who is the current Managing Director. Asirvad operates in 5 states & 1 UT namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Gujarat & Puducherry through a network of 141 branches with a portfolio size of INR 3,220 million as of 31st March 2015. Manappuram Finance Limited recently acquired a majority equity stake of 85% through acquisition of 71.14% of existing shares well as an additional equity infusion of Rs. 630 mn.

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Chetna Organic is a producer company that works with over 15,000 small and marginal farmers towards improving their livelihood options and making farming a sustainable and profitable occupation. Chetna works with farmers from the rain-fed regions of Maharashtra, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh covering around 35,000 acres. The company undertakes promotion, procurement and marketing of organic cotton and encourages sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture practices. Caspian is a debt partner of Chetna Organic through its multi-sector impact debt fund Caspian Impact Investments.

d.light was set up in 2007 by Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun to design and sell high-quality, affordable, and innovative solar-powered consumer products for families without access to reliable electricity. Acumen Fund and Omidyar Network, IIC anchor members, invested in d.light to enable them to scale and serve the customers with low income levels. In its first three years of its operation, d.light has expanded distribution to over 30 countries and positively impacted the lives of over 1.25 million people worldwide.

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Drishti offers quality, affordable eye care services covering primary and secondary eye care in underserved markets with an operating model that is designed to cover distributed populations. Founded in 2011 by Kiran Anandampillai, the company currently has operations in Devanahalli (~35 kms from Bengaluru city) and adjoining areas. With the support of Lok Capital, a member of IIC, it has reached out to 24,800 patients, out of which 10,100 are women. Drishti also provides its services through mobile camps in rural villages. About 88% of the surgeries are free of cost while paid surgeries are affordably priced at INR 6000. Drishti also runs one year ophthalmic assistant training program that provides training to the local population.

Electronic Payment Services is promoted by Mani Mallamam, who had envisioned building a company that democratizes the ATM business in India. Aavishkaar, a member of IIC became a partner with Mani and has over last two years invested in multiple rounds in Electronic Payment Services (EPS) to scale the business. EPS, since then has become the preferred partner of public sectors banks (PSB) in Maharashtra and is pushing the agenda of financial inclusion in remote and underserved regions of the country. EPS ATMs have the potential to strengthen the Government of India’s initiative on Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) and payment of NREGA and other social security benefits directly to the end customer.

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Equitas was founded by Vasudevan who had a vision to build a successful Microfinance Institution (MFI) that makes finance available to its clients at a reasonable cost in a trasnparent manner. Back in 2008, Aavishkaar, a member of IIC, made a decision to invest in the company just few weeks after Equitas distributed its first loan. Today Equitas runs a financial services business that reaches out to a client base of 1.8 million people across seven states with 330 branches. Furthermore, its impact transcends microloans, with its health, education, vocational training and food security programmes that are serving millions of people. Caspian and IFC, members of IIC, have also invested in Equitas.

Everest Edusys & Solutions Private Limited was founded in 2011 with a vision to enrich and enable the science learning experience for K-12 in India and globally by a team of educators, researchers, global policy makers, software technologists and entrepreneurs. With the support provided by Lok Capital, a member of IIC, Everest launched Quest. Explore. Discover (Q.E.D) which aims to improve learning efficiency inside and outside the classroom and inspire students towards higher order thinking. It also runs 10 Managed Science Centres in 10 different zonal municipal schools run by Chennai Corporation benefitting over 200 schools to improve and maintain the quality of delivery of science education in the classroom by providing both equipment and teacher training support.

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Fusion Micro Finance Private Limited (Fusion) is an NBFC-MFI registered with the RBI receiving their NBFC-MFI license on 28th January 2014.Fusion set up in May 2009, promoted by Mr. Devesh Sachdev and Mr. Ashish Tewari started operations in January 2010 acquiring Ambience Fincap Private Limited (Ambience) established in 1994. Fusion operates through 5 states and 61 districts in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Delhi through a network of 61 branches with a portfolio size of INR 2,790 million as of 31st March 2015. Majority of Fusion’s shares are held by Incofin and Norwegian Microfinance Initiative. Promoters hold 16% stake in the entity.

Grama Vidiyal Microfinance Limited (GVMFL) is an NBFC-MFI promoted by Mr. Sathianathan Devaraj registered with the RBI and received their NBFC-MFI license on 4th October 2013. Mr. Devaraj set up the Grama Vidiyal Trust (GVT) in 1996, and its microfinance activities were transferred to GVMFL upon its establishment. GVMFL operates in 4 states namely Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Pondicherry & Maharashtra through 270 branches with a portfolio size of INR 10,120 million as of 31st March 2015. Major external shareholders are Mr. Vinod Khosla, Unitus Equity Fund & Micro Vest Capital Fund. Promoters together with the Grama Vidiyal Mutual Benefit Trust (MBT) hold 45% of total shares.

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Grameen Financial Services transitioned into a for profit structure with an investment by Aavishkaar Goodwell (AG) in 2008. Grameen Koota as a not-for-profit had been working with the marginalized sections of society and post transition, Grameen Financial Services (GFS) continued with this unflinching focus. Aavishkaar, a member of IIC, worked with the GFS team to raise its next round of capital without an investment banker and brought in investors aligned with the company’s focus on impact in order to bring in the capital to scale

Hippocampus Learning Centre runs education centers in rural Karnataka which offer kindergarten and afterschool primary education programs with a goal to create positive and tangible learning outcomes for children in rural India. 52% of the standard 5th students of Hippocampus Learning Centre (HLC) are able to read simple sentences and 35% are able to perform simle division while the numbers are 17% and 15% for other schools as per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). With the support extended by Lok Capital, Acumen Fund and Unitus Capital,members of IIC, HLC grew further and developed two programs, MathStar and Grow by Reading+ (GBR+). In both the programs, an individualized learning plan based on child’s current competency levels and learning pace is developed and implemented.

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Janalakshmi is an industry leader in the microfinance space in India. It has a portfolio exceeding INR 2500 Crores and over 1.7 million clients across 16 states. Janalakshmi’s market-based approach to financial inclusion is defined by three distinct characteristics: an exclusive focus on servicing the needs of the urban poor; a strong customer-value driven approach in designing financial products and services and the centrality of technology and processes as the foundation of a scalable enterprise. Caspian, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Lok Capital have invested in the Company in multiple rounds over the years and also provided debt support at critical junctures in the early years. Caspian’s first fund Bellwether exited Janalakshmi after a holding period of more than 7 years while its second fund IFIF remains invested in the company.

Kinara Capital is promoted by Hardika Shah and it provides loans in the range of INR 50,000-10 lakhs to small and growing businesses in India, thus filling the gap between microfinance and commercial capital. The company integrates the supply chain and partners with buyers and suppliers in order to source, validate and fund businesses. Kinara provides working capital loans as well as receivables financing and the company, although small, shows a lot of promise in its strategy and approach in providing much needed credit to MSME businesses. Caspian is a debt provider to Kinara from its multi-sector impact debt fund Caspian Impact Investments. Unitus Seed Fund, an IIC member, is a key invetsor in Kinara Capital.

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LabourNet started in 2006 as an initiative of Movement for Alternatives for Youth Awareness (MAYA), a non-governmental organization based in Bangalore. In 2011, it metamorphosed in to LabourNet as a national livelihood enabling social enterprise. In the last eight years, it has trained more than 100,000 trainees, added 23 livelihood centers, 71 schools and provided more than 185 on-site training programmes across 25 states. Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Acumen, IIC Executive Council members, have invested in LabourNet. Ansar Alam, a construction worker trained at LabourNet, says “I have become more confident and certainly improved my livelihood as well with which I am able to take care of my family in a better way”.

Mahila Housing Trust is a grassroots housing organization and it works to increase household-level access to water and sanitation in urban slums. Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) works with local government officials and with the support of Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, a member of IIC, it has enabled mechanisms for micro-savings and credit to expand outreach to about 25,000 families across 70 urban slums and improve household access to water, sewage and toilets. Residents have also become active agents of their own communities’ long-term health by overseeing construction and managing infrastructure development, identifying community partners, hiring people to manage waste collection, and managing financial contributions.

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Mandala Apparels is nestled in Puducherry and focuses on the textile industry.Mandala Apparels strives to promote environment-friendly and fair trading practices by ethical sourcing from local organic cotton farmers and manufacturing organic fair trade textiles for premium brands in the international market. Mandala’s garment manufacturing facility in Puducherry in South India employs over 100 people from surrounding villages, more than 70% of whom are women. Aavishkaar, a member of IIC investment, has invested in Mandala Apparels and has supported it in scaling its operations and expanding its supply on a global scale.

MAS Financial Services is headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and it provides retail and wholesale financing. MAS Financial Services extends micro loans to individual customers for income generation, SME loans, housing loans, two-wheeler loans and commercial vehicle loans. Through its wholesale lending business, the company is also a major provider of financing to microfinance institutions across India. With the funding provided by Lok Capital and Caspian, members of IIC, MAS Financial Services has disbursed loans worth INR 46.98 billion and has recently established a housing finance business.

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Milk Mantra has been founded by Srikumar Misra who envisioned building an ethical supply chain for milk sourcing and a high-quality dairy in milk-parched Eastern State of Odisha. Milk Mantra has created sustainable livelihood opportunities for thousands of local people with the help of Aavishkaar, a leading impact investor and anchor-member of IIC, whose multiple rounds of investments have supported in scaling the company. It has 15,000 dairy farmers in its network and sources about 36,500 liters of milk per day. The company has attracted mainstream investors like Fidelity and provided exit to Aavishkaar’s first fund!

Micro Housing Finance Corporation was established by Madhusudhan Menon, Rajnish Dhall and Nachiket Shelgikar in 2009, as the country’s first micro mortgage provider with a focus on the informal segment. Today, it has enabled more than 5,000 low income families and approved 200 low cost housing projects realizing a long standing dream and the security of owning a home. Caspian and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, IIC members, have invested in MHFC. They have provided active strategic guidance and governance oversight to the company in the years since.

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Naandi Education Support and Training is a for-profit spin-off of the non-profit Naandi Foundation and it seeks to address the whitespaces in the space of affordable learning through the development of a chain of affordable learning centers in low-income neighborhoods with the help of Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, a member of IIC. Each learning center offers academic coaching based on a proven approach developed by the Naandi Foundation. Independent assessments found that, from 2005 to 2009, the pedagogy which was developed with grant support from the foundation improved student learning outcomes by an average of 30 percent.

Rural Shores was founded by Murali Vullangati who often dreamt of integrating rural India into the mainstream knowledge economy. He setup Rural Shores as a rural BPO in October 2008. Lok Capital, an IIC member, was an early investor in RuralShores (2009) and supported the growth of the company through follow-on investments and provided operational and strategic support. RuralShores now offers rural BPO and KPO services with 2500 employees in 17 centres, 10 states, across 45 processes and more than 30 blue chip clients. Mayuri N., am employee at Rural Shores, says, “It is just like a dream. Before joining here I had never seen a computer, now I am working on one and am able to provide financial support to my family.”

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Skymet was founded in 2003 by Jatin Singh. Skymet Weather Services is the first private sector company in India with its own prediction models for weather forecasting. It works to achieve its specific goal of providing easily accessible weather information to Indian farmers to improve their livelihood possibilities. In its early stages, Skymet received funding from IIC member, Omnivore Partners. Currently, Skymet’s numerical prediction models are used to create forecasts for 7,000 locations in 13 states across India.

Sonata is a regional MFI based in Uttar Pradesh and it provides financial services to poor women in extremely underserved regions of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and neighboring states. The company has demonstrated scalability and profitability while maintaining a strong customer focus. Sonata today reaches to about 340,000 clients. Caspian and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, IIC members, are main investors in Sonata. Caspian was the first institutional investor in Sonata in 2006 and has invested in multiple rounds that followed, holding a significant majority until 2012. Caspian also provided debt support to the company at critical junctures in the early years and continues to provide debt today through its impact debt vehicle Caspian Impact Investments.

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Satin Creditcare Network Limited (Satin) promoted by Mr. H.P. Singh and Mr. Satvinder Singh and established in 1990 is an NBFC-MFI registered with the RBI and received their NBFC-MFI license on 6th November 2013. Satin operates in 11 states which include Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttrakhand, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir through 267 branches with a portfolio size of INR 21,400 million as of 31st March 2015. The majority shareholders after the promoters in Satin are Danish Microfinance Partners, Shore Capital and Micro Vest. Promoters hold 33% stake in Satin.

Suryoday Micro Finance Private Limited (Suryoday) is an NBFC-MFI registered with the RBI and received their NBFC-MFI license on 9th December 2013. Suryoday promoted by Mr. Baskar Babu was set up in October 2008 and started microfinance operations in April 2009 in Pune (Maharashtra). Suryoday operates in 7 states namely in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu through 145 branches with a portfolio size of INR 5,800 million as of 31st March 2015. Key shareholders in Suryoday are Aavishkar Goodwell, Lok Capital, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Developing World Markets (DWM), Mr. Surendra Pai and Promoters. Promoter holds 4.5% stake in Suryoday.

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Ujjivan is a pioneering Microfinance Institution (MFI) with the mission of providing financial services to the economically active ‘urban poor’ to help alleviate poverty. Ujjivan has disbursed loans worth INR 68 billion and has total outstanding loan portfolio of INR 16.17 billion. Ujjivan’s customer base comprises only of women and 22.4% of its total employees are also women. It operates 98 branches across 48 under-banked districts. 30% of the borrowers belong to Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 5% belong to Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. With the help of investments from International Finance Corporation, Caspian, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Lok Foundation and Unitus, all IIC members, Ujjivan has managed to expand its offerings and and outreach.

Ulink Bioenergy uses mobile technology and supply chain re-engineering to reduce the cost of farming input to ensure that inputs are genuine and high quality, thus eliminating the risk of a poor crop resulting from substandard inputs procured through the traditional supply chain. Ulink also provides advice on optimal usage of products, thereby reducing soil, water and air pollution. Aavishkaar, a member of IIC, became the first institutional investor in the company in March 2013. Since then, Ulink has built a loyal base of 7,000 farmers in Gujarat and the current savings on agricultural inputs in a six month period amounts to about US $52,000.

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Vistaar Finance has the objective of making financing available at a reasonable cost in a transparent manner. It aims to continuously attract mainstream capital and human resources, to serve the chosen segments effectively. The company targets the missing middle segment, consisting of enterprises with an annual turnover of INR 120,000 – 1,000,000 which is not effectively served by the formal financial system. Vistaar is now present in 79 branches across 16 different clusters. As a result, Vistaar is now supporting over 27,500 micro and small enterprises across 4 states. Overall, Vistaar has disbursed loans to 51,700 customers till date. 65% of the loans cater to the weaker sections of the society. Key investors of Vistaar include IIC members, Elevar, Lok Capital and Omidyar Networks.
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