Research Publications

India Impact Investing Handbook


The all-in-one handbook attempts to provide a bird’s-eye perspective of the investment opportunity across multiple dimensions of the impact investing market in India (such as Equity, Debt, Gender-lens, Climate-tech, Blended Finance etc.) through a combination of grounds-up IIC database analysis and insights from key industry practitioners.

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    Unlocking the Promise of Blended Finance in India


    Over the past few years we have witnessed how the Covid-19 pandemic has compounded existing inequalities in India, across critical sectors such as healthcare, education and MSMEs. Therefore, the need of the hour is to look beyond traditional models of socioeconomic development and embrace more innovative models of financing social impact such as blended finance. This white paper – “Unlocking the Promise of Blended Finance in India” – is the first in a series of such analytical outputs that are a part of a broader effort by Impact Investors Council (IIC) and Desai & Associates (D&A) to socialise the development community and the Indian government on the benefits of blended finance to support their financial and development agendas.

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    State of Impact NBFCs in India


    Our research effort at the India Impact Investor Council (IIC), in collaboration with Northern Arc Capital and TransUnion CIBIL, is an attempt to build a strong data backed analytical framework to understand the performance and challenges of small and medium sized Impact NBFCs in greater detail. The report focuses on the emerging class of non-MFI NBFCs, especially those that focus on segments such as micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) loans, auto and vehicle finance, and other BoP credit sectors. NBFCs with a portfolio size of <INR 5,000 crore and BoP clients >75% of the portfolio have been included in the research as Impact NBFCs. Through this data driven approach, we intend to showcase the performance of such NBFCs, their contributions to the socio-economic development of India and the challenges they face.


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      2021 in Retrospect: India Impact Investment Trends


      India Impact Investors Council (IIC) releases the second edition of the annual research report series called “2021 in Retrospect: India Impact Investment Trends”. The report reveals that 294 impact enterprises received ~6.8 Bn. in investments across 345 equity deals in 2021. Overall impact investments in 2021 exhibited positive investor outlook with strong signs of renewal and recovery in terms of both the number of deals as well as investment volume relative to 2020 and 2019 levels. Climate-tech emerged as the most active sector with the maximum number of deals (79). The report also uses a gender-lens in understanding representation of women among founders of impact enterprises in India today. The research highlights that only one out of every five impact enterprises that have raised capital in the last three years (2019, 2020, 2021) are (co) founded by women.

      The analysis is based on a bottom-up database of venture deals in social enterprises across all significant impact sectors.


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      Access IFI Report 2021: The Promise of Blended Finance for Financial Inclusion


      Impact Investors Council (IIC) is pleased to share our contribution to the ACCESS Development Services Inclusive Finance India Report 2021 through a chapter exploring blended finance structures in the financial inclusion space. The write-up delineates how innovative asset-based, liability-based and pay-for-success structures (such as impact bonds) can strengthen NBFC balance sheets and solve pressing challenges in critical sectors where a lack of credit is hampering India’s economic growth.

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        Unlocking Impact Capital – The Indian Family Office Edition


        Family offices are coming into their own in India. A steady increase in wealth, juxtaposed against growing threats from climate change, poverty and inequality, has encouraged this growing cohort of wealthy families to create legacies that go beyond just financial wealth and contribute to a better and sustainable future.


        In a first of its kind study, Waterfield Advisors and the Impact Investors Council (IIC) have come together to present a comprehensive picture on the state and position of impact investing practices amongst family offices (FOs) and high net worth individuals (HNIs) in India.

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        Early-stage Climate-tech Startups in India: Investment Landscape Report 2021


        Early-stage Climate-tech Startups in India: Investment landscape 2021 is an endeavour by the Impact Investors Council, Climate Collective and Areté Advisors to spotlight the activity in the Indian climate tech ecosystem over the last five years. The report serves three key objectives –

        • To deconstruct and adequately socialize the landscape of less understood solutions and innovative business models that characterize the current wave of climate-tech activity in the country.
        • To pave the way towards a unified taxonomy for the ecosystem that can help leap-frog space in response to the growing climate crisis.
        • To provide detailed recommendations and insights from industry players which can help climate-related start-up investments become mainstream.

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        Re-Imagining Traditional Finance for India’s COVID Recovery


        COVID-19 is an unprecedented health and development crisis. The efforts required to contain its spread by curtailing movement to limit exposure have severely impacted lives and livelihoods and stalled economic activity. While a significant amount of capital has been deployed by the Government, there is scope to do more. Commercial mainstream capital can fill this funding gap, provided opportunities are appropriately structured and the risk return profile is aligned. Blended finance involves using philanthropic or concessionary funds to de-risk investments in order to attract commercial capital. This catalytic approach leads to a leveraging effect where every rupee of grant money deployed attracts many multiples of commercial capital.

        Key focus areas of the report are:

        • Blended finance solutions for addressing the credit crunch faced by MSMEs and small holder farmers and enhancing the employment prospects of India youth through strategic skill development.
        • Insights into the legal obstacles facing blended finance, drawn from live deals being structured in the Market
        • Recommendations for legal revisions in laws such as Income Tax, GST and CSR that would allow for quick and large-scale disbursal of capital through blended financial deals.

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        2020 in Retrospect: India Impact Investment Trends


        India Impact Investors Council (IIC) released its annual report “2020 in Retrospect: India Impact Investment Trends” on 15th February 2021. The report reveals that Impact enterprises received ~$2.6BN in investment across 243 equity deals and saw 13 successful exits in the calendar year (CY) 2020. One clear conclusion from the report is that despite the global health pandemic and its accompanying effects on the business and economic environment, impact investors have pledged their support to solving critical social and environmental challenges through investments in scalable, tech-based, innovative impact enterprises.

        The analysis is based on a bottom-up database of venture deals in social enterprises across all significant impact sectors.

        2020 in Retrospect

        The India Impact Investing Story

        Assessing a Decade of Capital Plus Innovation for Impact (2010-19)


        A comprehensive report on the Indian impact sector over the last decade looking at the nature of capital flows and business models, and assessing the cumulative impact of the industry. The aggregation study attempts to quantify and showcase the cumulative power of the impact created and also celebrate the great stories of innovation that the industry has spawned.

        The India Impact Investing Story

        Giving Credit Where Due:

        A Case for Debt Financing in Indian Impact Enterprises


        Debt financing has grown in India, but at only 25 percent of total investing, Indian impact enterprises struggle to find the working capital they need to grow and fulfil their potential. To better understand the challenges impact enterprises face in borrowing money, the India Impact Investors Council and The Bridgespan Group joined in this research project to chart the debt landscape, identify barriers to debt financing, and propose ways to make debt more accessible.

        Giving Credit Where Due

        Impact Measurement and
        Management in India:

        A Position Paper


        Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) is the ‘cornerstone’ of impact investing. The measurement of impact performance is crucial as impact investors scale-up financing to achieve the United Nations’ SDGs. With impact investing all set to become mainstream in the post-COVID world, ‘impact performance’ is bound to evolve as a new dimension to evaluate the performance of all types of investments. IIC and KPMG India undertook an industry-wide survey of Impact Investors active in India in an attempt to capture the baseline state of IMM practices in the country. The report provides insights on current Indian IMM industry practices.

        Impact Measurement and Management in India

        The Promise of Impact investing in India


        With an active social enterprise space and an engaged investment market, impact investing takes advantage of private sector efficiency and capital to achieve public sector goals. With this report, we aim to provide an analysis of the impact investment sector in India and its potential to achieve social good. The study brings together wide-ranging analyses undertaken between February 2018 and April 2019. Structured around four key tenets of impact investment market activity — market trends in India, sector-level analysis, innovative financing and measurements— it takes the reader through the major trends that have shaped the Indian impact investment environment and offers specific recommendations. A special focus is placed on the key social themes of health, education and agriculture.

        The Promise of Impact investing in India

        Impact investing: Purpose-driven finance finds its place in India

        Rising demand for socially responsible and purpose-driven finance has resulted in new ways of putting capital to work the world over. In the past decade, what is now known as “impact investing” has challenged the long-held view that social returns should be funded by philanthropy and financial returns should be funded by mainstream investors.

        The global market for impact investments is projected to grow to $300 billion or more by 2020, according to the Global Steering Group on Impact Investment. Although this is still a fraction of the total private-equity assets under management (about $2.5 trillion in 2016), mainstream investors have entered the arena and are bringing scale to what was earlier considered a niche. And the dialogue is shifting rapidly from impact investing to “investing for impact.”

        India is fast becoming a test bed for many of these activities. Between 2010 and 2016, India attracted over 50 active impact investors, who poured in more than $5.2 billion. About $1.1 billion was invested in 2016 alone. We hope this report will give readers a sense of how impact investing is developing in India, and debunk some myths that have long surrounded these investments.

        Impact investing

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